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The JEemitor 


. Published Monthw-At Iowa City By 

t -IHE State HiisTORicMSociEiYoFM 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society lovra City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in January 1922 No. 1 


The M. and M. Railroad 

Long years before actual railroad construction be- 
gan in Iowa the people of the State talked and 
dreamed of a day when their villages would be bound 
together by steel pathways for the iron horse. As 
early as 1837 J ohn Plumbe, Jr., of Dubuque, was urg- 
ing the practicability of a transcontinental railroad ; 
in the forties while rails were being laid in the East- 
ern States, the topic of steam transportation in Iowa 
was one of frequent discussion in the villages west 
of the Mississippi River; but it remained for the 
decade of the fifties to bring the fruition of all these 

The laws of Iowa for 1850 are filled with acts //to ' 
grant the right of way. ' ' These grants were made 
to such companies as the Lyons Iowa Central Eai] 
Eoad Company, the Davenport and Iowa City Eail 
Road Company, the Camanche and Council Bluffs 
Rail Road Company, the Iowa Western Rail Road 
Company, the Dubuque and Keokuk Rail Road Com- 




paiiy, North, the Junction Rail Road Company, and 
the Dubuque and Keokuk Rail Road Company, 
South. The organization of these companies and 
the granting of right of way clearly show the crys- 
talizing of interest among the people. Many of the 
companies, however, proved to be only dreams, or 
they merited the description of the Philadelphia, 
Fort Wayne and Platte Valley Air Line road : ^ ^ It 
was an *air line' — hot air. It so exhausted the cor- 
poration to write the whole name, no energy or 
breath was left to build the road." 

But the people were not to be discouraged, nor 
were the officials. Governor Stephen Hempstead in 
his message to the General Assembly in 1852 sug- 
gested that '*In consequence of the failure of Con- 
gress, at its last session, to make a donation of land 
for the construction of railroads in this State, it 
would seem to be advisable to again urge this subject 
upon their consideration". Mr. Lyman Dillon in 
December of that year introduced into the House A 
joint memorial to the Congress of the United States, 
asking a grant of land to aid in the construction of a 
railroad from the termination of the Illinois Central 
Railroad on the Mississippi river at Dubuque, to a 
point on the Missouri river, at or near Kanesville, in 
the county of Pottawattamie, by the way of Fort 
Desmoines." And a few days later the Senate 
passed a memorial and joint resolution on the sub- 
ject of a grant of land to aid in the construction of 
a railroad from Davenport via Muscatine to the 
Council Bluffs". 



The people of Iowa had become determined to 
have a railroad, and early in January, 1853, a com- 
pany was organized which was to make the first 
attempt in railroad work which resulted in any per- 
manent structure. This pioneer organization, the 
Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company, had as 
members such men as John B. Jarvis, Joseph E. 
Sheffield, Henry Farnam, John M. Wilson, N. B. 
Judd, Ebenezer Cook, James Grant, John P. Cook 
and Hiram Price. The company, as organized under 
the general laws of Iowa, had a capital stock of six 
million dollars, of shares of one hundred dollars 
each; and the corporation was to continue for a 
period of fifty years. At the first election, which 
was held in May, 1853, John A. Dix of New York 
was elected President; Ebenezer Cook, Vice Presi- 
dent; John E. Henry, Secretary ; A. C. Flagg, Treas- 
urer; and Ebenezer Cook, Assistant Treasurer. 

The purpose of the company was to construct 
lines of railroad across the State, embracing three 
divisions. The main division was to extend from 
Davenport westward across the State as a projec- 
tion of the Chicago and Rock Island then termi- 
nating at Rock Island, Illinois. The Washington 
Press remarked: ^^This road . . . . will be to 
Iowa something what the Illinois Central is to Illi- 
nois, but built, as a matter of course, under less 
favorable auspices to its projectors.'' It was sug- 
gested that the main line from Davenport pass 
through one corner of Muscatine into Cedar County 



to Iowa City — a distance of fifty-five miles, and 
from here still westward through Iowa, Poweshiek, 
and Jasper counties to Fort Des Moines on the river 
of that name. From Fort Des Moines it was to pass 
through the south end of Dallas, and the north end 
of Adair, Cass, and Pottawattamie counties, ending 
perhaps at the Bluff City'' a few miles below and 
two miles back from the river, directly opposite 
Omaha City in Nebraska. The distance from Iowa 
City to Fort Des Moines to be covered by this rail- 
road was one hundred and twenty miles, from Fort 
Des Moines to Council Bluffs one hundred and 
thirty-six — making the total from Eock Island to 
Council Bluffs three hundred and eleven miles, and 
the cost was estimated at nine million dollars. 

In May of 1853 William Penn Clarke and Le 
Grand Byington were sent from Iowa City to a meet- 
ing of the proposed Mississippi and Missouri Eail- 
road Company. They were instructed to subscribe 
stock in the company, if called upon, payable in 
bonds of the city to be issued by the City Council, 
and in case a company was formed, to cast a vote in 
the name of the city provided Iowa City was made a 
point on the road. 

There was much opposition to the plan from the 
people of Muscatine who were endeavoring to se- 
cure a road from Davenport to Muscatine and from 
thence west to Oskaloosa. Feeling over the pro- 
posal ran high and is well expressed in a cartoon of 
the time drawn by George Yewell and at present in 



possession of the State Historical Society of Iowa. 
It is entitled the Muscatine Opposition'^ and pic- 
tures the Muscatine element astride a bull which is 
charging the oncoming locomotive. One of the riders 
is playing a railroad overture upon a flute-like 
instrument wliile the other proclaims : ^ * If we fail in 
this, we declare everlasting hostility towards Iowa 
City and all therein.'' A compromise was finally 
effected whereby a branch known as the Muscatine 
and Oskaloosa Division was to extend from Wilton 
Junction (twenty-six miles from Davenport), 
through Muscatine on the Mississippi thirty miles 
below Davenport and then westwardly or south- 
westwardly by way of Oskaloosa to the Missouri 
Eiver, to the State line of Missouri, or to both. A 
third branch was to extend from Muscatine to Cedar 
Rapids and from thence northwestwardly to Minne- 

On the first of September in 1853, ground was 
broken for the building of the Mississippi and Mis- 
souri Railroad. This event is well described in 
Barrows 's History of Scott County, Iowa: 

It was a day full of interest to the people of Davenport. 
Many of the old citizens, who had for years been living on 
in hope and confidence, now began to feel all their most 
sanguine wishes gratified. The Rock Island and Chicago 
Road was near completion, and the first locomotive was 
soon expected to stand upon the banks of the Mississippi 
river, sending its shrill whistle across the mighty stream, 
and longing for its westward flight across the prairies of 



Iowa. The occasion was one of universal rejoicing. A 
great and important object had been accomplished for our 
city, our county and our State. As Mr. Le Claire, who was 
selected to perform the ceremony of removing the first 
ground, came forward, pulling off his coat and taking the 
wheel-barrow and spade, he was greeted by a most tre- 
mendous and hearty cheer. 

The year 1854 meant perhaps even more than any 
previous year to the people of Iowa. The stage had 
been set and in this year great events happened. A 
railroad through Iowa without easy and definite 
connection with the roads in Illinois would be an 
unpardonable blunder. Eealizing this the people of 
Iowa had welcomed the act of January 17, 1853, en- 
titled, ^'An Act to incorporate a Bridge Company by 
the title therein named The Mississippi and Mis- 
souri Eailroad Company immediately entered into an 
agreement with this bridge company for the purpose 
of connecting the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad 
at Rock Island, Illinois, with the Mississippi and 
Missouri Railroad at Davenport, Iowa. Now in the 
spring of 1854 the people of Iowa were to receive 
some visible evidence of the previous year's activ- 
ities. The work of location and construction was 
begun in earnest under Henry Parnam as Chief 
Engineer and John B. Jarvis as Consulting Engi- 
neer and in the early fall the corner stone of the 
first pier was laid in the presence of a large number 
of citizens. The bridge was one thousand five hun- 
dred and eighty feet long and thirty feet high across 



the Mississippi River from the west bank to the 
Island, and four hundred and fifty feet long across 
the slough from the Island to the Illinois shore. The 
entire cost of both bridges and the railroad connect- 
ing them across the Island was approximately four 
hundred thousand dollars. 

This led the way for other important events. 
During the fall of 1853 and the following winter 
Peter A. Dey, with the assistance of Grenville M. 
Dodge, had surveyed a line across the State from 
Davenport to Council Bluffs along the line suggested. 
Their plan was in the main adopted for use in final 
construction. On the twenty-second of February, 
1854, the long contemplated railroad from Chicago 
to Rock Island was completed and in May came an- 
other event — the first rail was laid in Iowa, at or 
near the high water mark on the bank of the Missis- 
sippi, in the city of Davenport. 

When the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad line 
was thus located, the surrounding land became valu- 
able and was sought after with a perfect mania. A 
note of ridicule, or of jealousy, is found once in a 
while in this connection. A Louisa County historian 
quotes from a Wapello newspaper of 1854 the fol- 
lowing bit of satire : 

Hurrah for the Muscatine and Oskaloosa Railroad! 
From a gentleman who has just returned from Muscatine 
we learn that work has actually commenced upon that much 
talked of road. He states that one boss and two hands are 
actually engaged upon the work. Should they prove to be 



industrious and energetic it is confidently expected that 
the road will reach the Iowa River some time during the 
present century. 

* Even the laying of the track, however, was not to 
conclude the happenings of this memorable year. In 
July, 1854, that which had previously been thought 
impossible happened: the first locomotive in Iowa 
landed at Davenport. It was promptly called the 
Antoine Le Claire by the enthusiastic citizens. 

The next two years were busy ones for the people 
of Iowa but their labors were well repaid. As the 
year 1855 drew to a close the railroad was rapidly 
approaching Iowa City. The people became greatly 
interested and decided that the track should be com- 
plete to the depot grounds before the first of Janu- 
ary. Hard labor, long hours, and extra help did 
much toward accomplishing their purpose but the 
evening of December thirty-first arrived and the 
track was still some distance from the depot grounds. 
Then it was that the citizens working by the light of 
lanterns and bonfires, regardless of the cold, com- 
bined their efforts and reached their goal. At mid- 
night the track was completed so that ^^the year 
1856 and the first train came in on the same day.^* 
A formal celebration took place two days later. 

While the people of Iowa City were looking for- 
ward to the completion of the first section of the 
railroad the people of Davenport were eager for the 
completion of the bridge. Their hope was realized 
early in April. That they were proud of their bridge 



no one can doubt. It was a matter of interest for 
the entire State as an article from an Iowa City 
paper indicates. 

Ho ! FOR THE Mississippi Bridge. — On and after Monday, 
April 14tli, all trains leaving this city will cross the Mis- 
sissippi at Davenport upon the Railroad Bridge ! Accord- 
ing to the new arrangement, two passenger and one freight 
train with passenger cars attached, will leave and arrive at 
this city, daily: the first passenger train leaving at 6:45 
A. M. until further notice. 

Congress had steadily refused during the past 
eight years to heed the numerous resolutions and 
memorials passed by the legislature asking for 
grants of land for the construction of a road from 
Davenport to Council Bluffs. Railroads through 
Iowa now seemed assured whether given aid by Con- 
gress or not, and fearing the loss of the opportunity 
to do what it knew to be its duty Congress has- 
tened to pass an act on May 15, 1856, granting land 
for the purpose of constructing railroads in this 
State. A special session of the General Assembly 
was convened at Iowa City early in J uly, and on the 
fourteenth an act was approved accepting the grant 
and regranting the lands to the railroads on certain 
specified conditions. The Mississippi and Missouri 
Railroad Company was granted seven hundred and 
seventy-four thousand acres but was authorized **to 
transfer and assign all or any part of the grant to 
any other company or person, 4f in the opinion of 



said company, the construction of said railroad 
across the state of Iowa would be thereby sooner 
and more satisfactorily completed.' '' 

The people of Iowa now looked forward to a rapid 
development of their railroads. This hope was re- 
flected in the newspapers of the time. One such arti- 
cle from the Washington Press reads as follows : 

The passage of the Iowa Land Bill will have many and 
important effects, both upon the interests of our own State, 
and other contingent interests. In the first place, it will 
place the railroad system of Iowa upon a secure basis, 
which will ensure its early and speedy completion, thus 
opening up avenues of trade for the increasing demands of 
our commerce, and developing yet more fully the vast agri- 
cultural resources of our young and growing State. . . . 
the Muscatine and Oskaloosa road will indirectly receive a 
share of its benefits, for it is a branch of the Mississippi 
and Missouri road, and built by the same company. Hence, 
the funds thus placed at the disposal of that companj^, al- 
though to be applied exclusively to the other branch, will 
enable it to apply other funds at its disposal to the prose- 
cution of the Muscatine and Oskaloosa branch. 

Another article leads one to believe with greater 
certainty that the wishes of the people are to be 
realized and that the railroad is to be extended. It 
reads: **Mr. J. V. Judd and other gentlemen con- 
nected with the M. & M. E. E., are now on a tour of 
examination of the route hence to Oskaloosa, with 
the intention — we believe — of putting the entire 
road under contract forthwith ' \ This first appeared 



in the Muscatine Journal and Avas copied in the 
Washington Press. 

And it was more than newspaper talk, for on July 
23, 1856, there appeared in the Washington Press a 
call for workers: Messrs. Dort & Butterfield want 
500 men to work on their contract on the M. & M. 
Eailroad, between Cedar and Iowa Rivers. Wages 
$1,25 per day". To this advertisement was attached 
the observation: ''From the above it will be seen 
that the Muscatine and Oskaloosa Road is being 
prosecuted with a good deal of vigor, and we think 
our citizens need have no fears, if they vote the 
$50,000 proposed next Monday, but that we shall 
have a Rail Road within the time prescribed in the 
proposition. ' ' 

Another paper of the time has the following rather 
extensive time-table for the Mississippi and Missouri 
Railroad : 

On and after Monday, June 1st, 1857, and until further 
notice, trains will leave Iowa City daily, for Muscatine, 
Davenport, Rock Island and Chicago (Sunday excepted) 
as follows: 

1st — Freight, and Emigrant, at 5,15 A M 

2d — Mail and Passenger, at 6,30 A M 

3d — Freight at 11,15 A M 

4th— Express at 3,15 P M 

Trains arrive at Iowa City daily, Sundays excepted, as 
follows : 

1st — Freight and Emigrant, at 10,50 A M 

2d — Mail and Passenger, at 10,25 A M 



3d — Freight, at 
4th — Express, at 

4,45 P M 
8,45 P M 

Trains arrive at Davenport daily, Sundays excepted, as 
follows : 

The evening train stops one hour at Davenport for 

All trains out of Davenport will make connections with 
Muscatine and Iowa City. 

The Passenger Train connects at Davenport with the 
Rock Island & Chicago Trains. The evening train stops 
one hour in Davenport for supper. 

Passengers are reminded of the necessity of giving dis- 
tinct direction as to the destination of their baggage — 
also to procure tickets before taking their seats in the cars. 

From these indications one might come to the con- 
clusion that the Mississippi and Missouri Eailroad 
Company was in a prosperous condition. In the 
early fall of 1858 the Muscatine and Oskaloosa 
branch was completed to Washington ; and the open- 
ing of this portion of the road was celebrated on 
September first. A thousand invitations had been 
issued, and on the appointed day many guests ar- 
rived from Muscatine, Iowa City, Davenport and 
the east on an excursion train. **A train of thirteen 
passenger cars came in, drawn by the splendid loco- 
motive * Washington' gaily decorated.'' A proces- 
sion from Dutch-creek Township bore a banner with 
the picture of a locomotive and the inscription : * ^ The 
Iron Horse shall not rest till he goes farther. ' ' 

All things, however, were not as bright as they 

A. Day, Superintendent. 



seemed. Through this pervading spirit of optimism 
came anxieties and uncertainties. The Cedar Valley 
Times [Cedar Rapids], for instance, prints on June 
18, 1857, the following article : 

The people of Des Moines are heginning to manifest con- 
siderable anxiety respecting their Railroad prospects. They 
are quite dissatisfied with the slow progress of the M. & M. 
R. Road towards their city, and are already counting the 
probabilities of an earlier outlet over the Chicago, Iowa & 
Nebraska road. The Iowa State Journal [Des Moines] in 
an article upon this subject, says: — ''From the appear- 
ance the M. & M. Road appears to have entirely abandoned 
their road between here and Iowa City for the present — 
throwing all their force upon a 'branch' road — and if 
their present state of 'masterly inactivity' continues much 
longer, our citizens will be compelled to look in some other 
direction. AVe must and will have railroads — and that 
soon — and if disappointed in our hopes and expectations 
by the Company, it will be an easy matter to reconsider 
former acts, and accept the propositions of other roads". 

A few days later the following item appeared in 
the same newspaper : 

We see it stated that the Directors of the Road have 
nearly closed arrangements for a loan of seven millions of 
dollars, with which in connection with private and public 
subscriptions along the line, they expect to put the whole 
road between this city and Council Bluffs, under contract, 
and complete it to the Missouri River at almost as early a 
day as has been named for its completion to Des Moines 



The people along the third branch, which was to 
extend to Cedar Rapids, became discouraged and 
embittered about this time because they had been 
neglected. When in 1857 it was suggested to the 
city of Davenport that it transfer the $350,000 loan 
from this branch road to assist in the extension of 
the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, Cedar Rap- 
ids replied that the Davenport people would not if 
they knew what was for their best interest. A con- 
nection with Cedar Rapids by railroad they declared 
would be worth twice as much to Davenport as with 
two towns like Iowa City. 

Under the trying circumstances to which it was 
subjected this road like all others made slow prog- 
ress in getting through to Council Bluffs. It was 
not until the last day of August, 1860, that the Mis- 
sissippi and Missouri ran its first train of freight 
over the Iowa River ; and in the preceding year the 
Davenport Democrat had announced a decrease in 
the passenger service by the Mississippi and Mis- 
souri Railroad Company to one train daily between 
Davenport and Iowa City. The business on the road 
would not justify more than one. During the middle 
of the Civil War period, about 1863, the work was 
resumed but not very enthusiastically. For several 
years it was rumored that the railroad would ^ * reach 
Newton in ninety days'' but by 1865 it was com- 
pleted only as far as Kellogg, forty miles east of 
Des Moines. 

Carelessness, mismanagement, and shortage of 



supplies, men, and money because of the Civil War, 
had created distrust among the people, which the 
Mississippi and Missouri Eailroad Company was 
unable to overcome. Condemnation proceedings 
were begun by A. 0. Patterson, attorney, in October, 
1865, and not long after the company went into the 
hands of a receiver. The foreclosure took place in 
the Circuit Court of the United States for the Dis- 
trict of Iowa on May 11, 1866, and soon after the 
whole line of road to Council Bluffs was purchased 
by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 
Company, which was incorporated in this State a 
few week previous to the sale. 

On the 20th of August, 1866, this company con- 
solidated with the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific 
Railroad Company of Illinois. Under the manage- 
ment of the consolidated company the work was 
rapidly pushed to completion. In the spring of 1869 
it became known that the first train over the new 
road — the third to enter the city — would arrive at 
Council BluiTs on the 12th of May. On the day set, 
the citizens **with the fire company, civic societies, 
band and artillery squad with gun, ' ' gathered at the 
grounds where a temporary depot had been erected ; 
and as the train pulled in they gave it a hearty 

MiLDEED J. Sharp. 

Letters of a Railroad Builder 

Isaac Lane Usher came to Iowa in 1853, ahead of 
the railroads, and located at Muscatine. He learned 
that the Lyons Iowa Central Railroad Company was 
constructing an air line from Lyons on the Missis- 
sippi River to Iowa City and thence westward 
across the State, and he and his partner, William 
H. Thayer, took a contract to build a part of the 
road near Tipton. Work on this road was com- 
menced in 1853 and was probably the first actual 
railroad construction in the State of Iowa. But in 
the following year the company abandoned its oper- 
ations and the road — which was called the * * Calico 
Road*' because of the bolts of calico and other mer- 
chandise in which the company partially paid the 
men who were doing the construction work — was 
never completed. 

Usher and Thayer returned to Muscatine and as 
proprietors of the **Ogilvie House'' carried on a 
thriving hotel trade. They also took a contract for 
railroad building on the road from Muscatine to 
Oskaloosa. In the spring of 1855 Thayer sold out 
to Usher and not long afterwards Mr. Usher also 
sold his interests and removed to La Crosse County, 
Wisconsin, which was his home until his death in 
1889. The following extracts of the letters of Mr. 


Usher were contributed through the kindness of his 
son, Ellis B. Usher, of Milwaukee. 

The Editor 

[To his father] 

Muscatine, Iowa, Oct. 16th, 1853. 

I have been here two days only and of course can 
give no very distinct ideas of business matters, but 
can give impressions gathered from my limited ob- 
servation, and from conversation with others. 

Iowa as yet is quite new, she has a few smart 
towns on the river, (among which this is one of the 
smartest) which derive their business directly and 
indirectly from the agricultural resources of the sur- 
rounding country, which are at present quite exten- 
sive and daily increasing. These river towns have 
not only the advantage of the trade thus received, 
which is equal to cash, but they manufacture and 
get pay for the labor. They have two large flour 
mills running night and day, making about three 
hundred barrels of flour of the best quality, every 
twenty-four hours. They have steam mills here for 
making the flour barrels, that make them very fast 
indeed. They have also two large steam saw mills 
that saw about 20,000 feet per day. Connected with 
them are lathe, shingle, and planing mills. They get 
their pine logs from up river 300 or 400 miles, and 
raft them down the river. One thousand feet of 
common boards are worth here about $12. per thou- 
sand, and better qualities range from that to $25. 



Shingles are worth here $3.50, and lathes, from $2.50 
to $3.00. 

I think that with the exception of California, 
which is an exception to all rules, Iowa is at present 
settling faster than any state in the Union has ever 
been settled, and with a better class. Emigrants 
are coming here from Ohio by hundreds every day 
— regular old farmers, just the men to develop this 
country. As a general thing they are men who emi- 
grated to Ohio several years ago, mthout means, 
and located their 80 or 100 acres of land, which they 
can now sell for $40. or $50. per acre, according to 
location. They are energetic and industrious, and 
have the money. 

Land in this town is worth from $100 to $125 per 
front foot in the business portion of the town. One 
mile out, good locations for farms are worth from 
$15. to $25. per acre. From four to five miles out it 
is worth from $4.00 to $10. per acre, a great inequal- 
ity, as you will at once perceive. The land in to^vn 
will not go down and the land out of town must 
advance; it is in fact, advancing from 12% to 25% 
every month, and in many cases 100%, and will con- 
tinue to do so as long as emigration continues to 
flow in as at present. 

You can let any quantity of money here at 25%, 
with ample security. A man told me yesterday that 
he wanted about $2,500. to locate some land with, in 
Cedar county, the county just back from this, and if 
anybody will locate it and give him a bond for a 



deed, he will give them a 25% advance with security 
on the land and also on 4,000 acres which he owns, 
besides. He is a Mr. Tuefts, formerly of Maine, the 
eastern part. He left Maine when he was twenty- 
one, and has lived in Ohio most of the time, until 
this summer, when he came here as mail agent at 
$100. per month. He has invested all his spare 
means in land here and intends to settle about five 
miles from town, when he has bought land enough 
for three farms for himself and two boys, and the 
land he wants the money to secure is for some of his 
Ohio neighbors, who intend to emigrate here next 
year, and he is afraid someone else will get it before 
they can sell where they are and secure it. 

I rode twenty miles into the country yesterday, 
horse back, with Mr. Tuefts and another man. Most 
of the countrj^ in this section is rolling prairie, and 
as beautiful as nature could make it, with here and 
there an oak opening to supply wood and fencing 
timber, and the soil is as good as any in the world, 
and the climate as healthy. 

The site of this town is very rough, a succession 
of hills and valleys, requiring a great deal of 
grading and filling up to make it as it should be. 
The reason why it was chosen is that the river here 
makes a large elbow, and this town is built on the 
outer point of the elbow, thus securing a larger ex- 
tent of country, the trade of which can reach this 
point and can't be turned off from it. The town 
getting the best location of course gets the most 



trade. The great rival of this place is Davenport, 
thirty miles above. It is the most beautiful western 
town I have seen and about the size of this (about 
5000 inhabitants) but they don't at present do half 
the business that they do here. But they are build- 
ing a railroad from Davenport to Iowa City which 
will give them the advantage until they build one 
from here, which they probably will do as soon as 
next year. 

To give you an idea of the emigration here ; there 
are more emigrant wagons than the ferry boat can 
take across the river in the day time; sometimes 
there are fifteen or twenty wagons waiting on the 
eastern shore to come across, and when I rode out 
yesterday, I met fifteen wagons going a distance of 
five miles, on the main road, that came into the state 
in another direction. This is what you see at our 

The society here I should judge is very good in- 
deed. I have a very nice boarding house; much 
better than I expected to find. It is better than most 
eastern boarding houses. The price is two dollars 
and twenty-five cents per week. Everything to make 
us comfortable and happy. 

[To his wife] 

Muscatine, Iowa, Oct. 27th, 1853. 
I think now I shall leave here next week for 
Tipton, an inland town about twenty-five miles 


west^ of this, where we expect a contract on a rail- 
road upon quite advantageous terms. We have had 
the offer of as much work as we can do or get done, 
at so much a yard according to the distance we have 
to haul it, and we are not bound, only to do the best 
we can, and they guarantee us not to lose. We shall 
have to furnish hardly anything. We can get men 
to build the camp for the sake of getting the board- 
ers, and we shall get our pay without doubt every 
month. The other contractors told me they always 
had got theirs just at the time agreed. This road is 
to run from Lyons in Clinton County to Iowa City, 
a distance of 75 miles, and they intend to have it 
finished by next fall at this time. The same com- 
pany is intending to build another road, from this 
place to Iowa City, and from thence to Cedar Eap- 
ids, in Linn County, and we expect to get the thirty 
miles from this place to Iowa City to build. 

[To his father] 

Tipton, Iowa, November 10, 1853. 
We have taken a contract on the Lyons Iowa Cen- 
tral Railroad, of two miles, near this place. The 
work on it will amount to about $30,000. We have 
15 cents per yard for all earth hauled less than fifty 
rods and 20 cents for all hauled over that distance. 
There are no rocks or trees in the way, and after 
breaking the surface there is no difficulty in shovel- 

1 Tipton is about this di&tance north, instead of west, of 



ing it without any plowing or picking. By our con- 
tract w^e are paid once a montli, our whole estimate, 
the company reserving the right to take the work off 
our hands whenever in the opinion of the chief engi- 
neer we are not likely to complete it in the given 
time. The time given is the first of J une, 1854. We 
have not had to buy anything to commence with but 
a lot of shovels. We found men here to build the 
shanties for the sake of the boarders, and the farm- 
ers have plenty of teams that they are anxious to 
work at reasonable prices. 

We pay $2 per day for two horses and driver, 
they boarding themselves and receiving their pay 
when we receive ours. We pay the same for one 
yoke of oxen and cart. Scrapers, plows, and wheel- 
barrows the company lends us whenever we want 

I think, judging from the rates they pay in the 
East, we cannot fail to make some money out of it. 

The same company wants us to build thirty miles 
of railroad from Muscatine to Iowa City, com- 
mencing as early as practicable in the spring. 

They gave us all we asked for this job, and if they 
do the same with the other, we shall take it. 

Thayer understands his business as very few of 
the contractors here do. 

The company has a nice office here which they 
have given us the use of, with a nice stove, desk, 
and furniture, and wood enough to last a month or 
two. They come to do business in it once a month 
when they pay off their hands. 


The company wants to hire me to keep their 
books at this point and would probably give about 
$30 per month for it. It will work me a little too 
hard as I shall have to do most all of it evenings, 
but I guess I shall try it. I have been for the 
last two days fixing up their books for a settlement 
which comes off tomorrow. They have about 200 
hands to pay off here. 

We board at a hotel here for $2 a week, a first- 
rate table, but the house is so full all the time that I 
expect we shall have to put a bed in the office. There 
are three hotels in town and all full every night. 

[To his wife] 

Tipton, Iowa, Nov. 16, 1853. 

The railroad company has had some trouble with 
the Tipton people about their stock book. Some of 
the subscribers erased their names from the book 
because they thought the company had done so mucli 
work near this place that they would pass through it 
anyway, but the company were so indignant at it 
that they were determined to abandon what they 
had done and not come to this town, and they could 
do it and not lose anything, because the route that 
does not come here is much cheaper to build. 

Their old books made them pay only 20 per cent a 
year, and their subscription was $28,000. The com- 
pany now tells them that they must furnish $50,000, 
payable 10 per cent, per month, and they will have 
to do it. They have already raised $30,000 of it and 
will undoubtedly get the rest. 



The vice president and the man who came with 
him to pay off have been so busy with that matter 
that I have had to pay off the hands, here and at 
Iowa City. I have paid out $13,000 and go to-day 
towards Lyons, with the vice president to pay off 
the rest. 

We shall get off $500 or $800 worth of work this 
month, and it will not cost ns over one-half. It 
counts up faster than our other work, and we are 
doing it to get ahead a little. 

[To his wife] 

Elk Eiver, Sunday, November 20, 1853. 

Wednesday afternoon I started from Tipton along 
the line of the Lyons, Iowa Central Eailroad, in a 
one horse buggy, in company with Wm. G. Hourn, 
Esq., over a prairie country, interspersed here and 
there with a grove of oak timber and watered with 
several beautiful, clear, running streams. The 
country is beautifully undulating until you reach 
within two or three miles of the river, where it be- 
comes quite hilly and broken, and very much more 
pleasant and beautiful to my eye than the flat coun- 
try over which we had traveled. 

Mr. Hourn is a Kentuckian and his wife also. She 
is considerably younger than he and has regular 
Kentucky manners, wants a little in refinement, but 
is direct and truthful in expression, and has quick 
perceptions and a high sense of honor. Taken all in 
all, an agreeable woman. 


Mr. Hourn is a smart, or rather sharp, active man, 
rather loose in detail, but far-seeing and just the 
man to manage the general business of a railroad in 
this western country, with somebody to follow and 
attend to all the details. 

The rest of the family consists of a young lady 
about twenty years old, by his former wife, and 
three small children, two boys and a girl. 

Mr. Hourn has a brother-in-law in business with 
him by the name of Graves, a near relative of the 
Graves who killed Cilley of Maine.^ 

[To his brother-in-law] 

Muscatine, Iowa, May 8, 1854. 

Our business is paying beyond our expectations.^ 
We have a perfect rush of travel all the time, filling 
the beds and frequently the floors full. We have 85 
regular family and sometimes as high as 125 ar- 
rivals per day. We pack them away like bales of 
goods and charge them big storage. 

We have taken a large contract on a railroad from 
this place west to Oskaloosa, connecting with the 
Eock Island road east, to Chicago. The Rock Island 
road has been opened since I came back, (within a 
few weeks), and is doing the biggest business of any 
road in the West. Mr. Far nam, the man who made 

2 In February, 1838, a fatal duel was fought between Graves and 
Cilley, members of Congress from Kentucky and Maine respec- 
tively. Cilley death created a profound sensation in the country. 

8 By this time Usher had returned to Muscatine and engaged in 
the hotel business as one of the proprietors of the Og-ilvie House. 



it, finished it one year before his time, and is run- 
ning it on his own hook for the one year. He will 
make money enough for one man. 

We have taken the contract under a wealthy firm 
here, Ogilvie & St. John, and at prices which must 
net us a large profit. We have 20, 21, and 22 cents a 
yard for dirt excavation and 75 cents for rock. 

Thayer will go onto the road and I shall stay in 
the hotel. 

[To his father] 

Muscatine, Iowa, May 12, 1854 
We have taken a large contract on the Oskaloosa 
railroad in connection with Ogilvie & St. John. 
Ogilvie is the owner of this house. We have got a 
good contract and have been offered $12,000 for it. 
That will be $3000 each. We shall take it if we can't 
talk them up higher. We want to get about $1500 
more if we can. 

[To his brother-in-law] 

Muscatine, Iowa, Sept. 3, 1854. 
Corn is worth 20 and 25 cents per bushel. Flour 
$6 and $6.50 a bbl. Beef 6 and 7 cents a pound. 
Pork 5 and 6 cents. Prairie chickens $1.50 per 
dozen. Quail 30 cents per dozen. Turkeys 50 cents 
each. Tame chickens $1.50 per dozen. Butter 10 
and 12 cents per lb. Milk 4 cents per quart. Pota- 
toes 25 cents per bushel. Peaches $1.00 per bushel. 
Tomatoes they will give you all you want. Musk- 
melons 5 cents. Watermelons 5 and 10 cents. 


I have given you the retail prices, so if you want 
to live, come on. 

You can shoot your own game. Just get into a 
buggy and drive along the road and shoot without 
getting out. 

A man with $3000 or $4000 can live easy here by 
shaving short paper at 20 and 30%. 

[To his brother-in-law] 

Muscatine, Iowa, Dec. 7th, 1854. 
We have not settled with the railroad folks yet. 
Can^t tell how we shall come out. Our company 
makes $3000 out of it aside from the question of 
damages. We ask $10,000 damages and could no 
doubt get that amount at the end of a law suit. 
Ogilvie & St. John offer to give us $3000 and let us 
out, and run the risk of getting damages. I think 
we shall take it rather than be bothered with a long 
laAV suit. 

Business in all departments is good here, though 
money matters have been very much deranged for 
the last three months. We take no Indiana bank 
bills excepting State Bank. No Ohio money except- 
ing State Bank. No Kentucky excepting Northern 
Bank, and none from banks south of that. How long 
this situation will last I can't tell, but not long, I 

[To his father] 

Muscatine, Iowa, Jan. 17, 1855. 
We have settled our railroad matters with Ogilvie 



& St. John. They gave us two Muscatine County 
bonds, of $1000 each, 20 years, 10%, and $800 credit 
on their books. The bonds are worth $800 cash now, 
and are a good investment. They bind themselves 
to pay all debts, etc. of Ogilvie, St. John, Usher & 
Thayer. The debts are not much, $300 or $400. I 
thought that as railroad matters stand at present all 
over the country we were better off to take that 
clear profit than run the risk of waiting to get more. 

Comment by the Editor 


^'Finally, on the 25th of June, we perceived on 
the water's edge some tracks of men, and a narrow 
and somewhat beaten path leading to a fine prairie ' \ 
Father Marquette, whose words we have just quoted, 
and Louis Jolliet, his companion, stepped from their 
canoes to the west bank of the Mississippi; and on 
that summer day in 1673 white men for the first time 
trod an Iowa road to an inland town. 

For a long time their followers kept to the water- 
ways. Explorers and fur traders relied largely 
upon the canoe. With the coming of settlers the 
Ohio and Mississippi route and the Great Lakes 
route floated thousands of families into the West, 
and when they came to the far side of the Missis- 
sippi they squatted for the most part near the river. 
Dubuque, Davenport, Burlington, and Keokuk grew 
and thrived, but the interior prairie land was un- 
inviting and fearsome. Where would they get 
water and fuel, building material and easy transpor- 
tation if they did not stay by the wooded streams? 
When they left the Mississippi, they struck out to 
the shores of other streams and stopped. They 
optimistically believed in the navigability of the Des 
Moines, the Iowa, and the Cedar rivers, and tried to 




make these waterways their arteries of trade and 

But just as in later years in the West the irriga- 
tionist spread his ditches out over the desert and 
made it fruitful, so the squatters soon began to 
stretch out lines of communication into the **fine 
prairies'' and where these life-giving streams of 
transportation penetrated, settlements sprang up 
and prospered. The crude early roads, crossing the 
rivers at fords and ferries, gave way to Territorial 
roads and military roads and bridges across the in- 
land streams. Then came, in many parts of the 
State, a glowing enthusiasm for plank roads'' and 
thousands of dollars were spent by enterprising 
towns on these wooden Appian Ways. 


Meantime for a score of years shining rails had 
been creeping westward, and when they reached the 
Mississippi at Rock Island in 1854, Iowa towns 
abandoned themselves to speculative excitement. 
Intense rivalries sprang up and neighboring towns 
forgot their friendship and fought for the favor of 
the railroad companies. They made extraordinary 
promises and voted huge sums of money, for they 
knew that the stream of immigration and commerce 
would nourish the towns along the railroad, and 
leave dry and withered the roots of the inland settle- 

The ground had already been broken at Davenport 



for the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, and 
Antoine Le Claire, whose life is an epitome of that 
romantic early period of Mississippi Valley history, 
had removed the first shovelful of earth. In his 
veins ran the blood of American Indians whose 
moccasined feet had deepened the buffalo traces into 
human roadways ; as interpreter he had brought red 
men and white together in numerous councils, and 
had translated Black Hawk's dictated autobiography 
into English; and he had been one of the men who 
had helped to found and develop the town of Daven- 

Here was a bit of unconscious pageantry that has 
seldom been equaled in our history. In Antoine Le 
Claire the various people of the Valley were symbol- 
ized. He was an Indian, master of fourteen Indian 
langTiages and spokesman for Black Hawk. In name 
and by ancestiy he was a French Canadian, a fur 
trader and the son of a fur trader, representative of 
that race that had explored the rivers of the Missis- 
sippi Valley. And he was an American pioneer, a 
sturdy white settler and the first postmaster of the 
frontier town of Davenport. 

As an Indian he turned the soil of his ancestors' 
beloved hunting ground for the passage of the white 
man's railroad. The first locomotive that reached 
Iowa, after being towed across the Mississippi on a 
flatboat, was christened with his French Canadian 
name. And yet it is probable that his townsmen 
thought little of these relationships, but chose him 



to break ground for this great enterprise because he 
was the leading citizen of their town, the benefactor 
of their churches and schools, and the most promi- 
nent figure in their business adventures. 

The line of railroad begun so auspiciously at Dav- 
enport in 1853 reached Council Bluffs in 1869, and 
it Avas in that same year that the last spike was 
driven in a continuous line of rails that stretched 
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Since 1853 
Iowa has laid approximately ten thousand miles of 
railroad and the network of rails runs into every 
county and not many miles distant from every home- 
stead in the State. But with all this progress we can 
not help a feeling of regret that in the obscurity of 
two centuries and a half we have lost beyond recall 
the trace of that narrow and somewhat beaten path 
leading to a fine prairie'', that early trail by which 
Marquette and Jolliet came into the land of Iowa. 

J. C P. 


Bruce E. MXhan 

^^^^ 7v 

With the First Iowa. Itifentry 53 
/ , Faying the First Iowa 



^sPuBysHE MoOTHCf At Iowa to" By 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

Benj. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in February 1922 No. 2 


Moving the Winnebago 

On Wednesday morning, June 8, 1848, when the 
first flush of dawn appeared over the hills to the east 
of Fort Atkinson, Iowa, the clear tones of the bugle 
awoke the sleeping garrison to face the hardest task 
of their term of enlistment. To James M. Morgan, 

Little Eed'^, and his company of Iowa Mounted 
Volunteers had fallen the duty of escorting the Win- 
nebago with all their belongings to their new home 
in the Indian country north of the State of Iowa. 

Almost two years before, on October 13, 1846, the 
United States government had completed a treaty 
with the Winnebago whereby the Indians agreed to 
relinquish their claims to the Neutral Ground in 
Iowa and remove to a reservation to be selected by 
them or their agent in the upper Mississippi region. 
Soon after the treaty was concluded Henry M. Rice, 
acting as their agent, chose for the new home of the 
Winnebago the country lying in the present State of 
Minnesota between the Watab River on the south, 




and the Long Prairie Eiver and the Crow Wing 
River on the north, a tract of some 1,557,000 acres. 
The delay in starting, however, was due partly to 
dissatisfaction among the Indians created by per- 
sons whose business would be affected by their re- 
moval, and partly by their fear of being drawn into 
difficulties with the Sioux and the Chippewa who 
would be their new neighbors. 

For weeks before the departure, detachments from 
Captain Morgan's company had been kept busy 
bringing back stragglers who tried to avoid the mi- 
gration by stealing back to Wisconsin. At the same 
time details from Captain Wiram Knowlton's com- 
pany from Fort Crawford rounded up bands of 
Winnebago that had left the reservation for their 
old hunting grounds in Wisconsin and assembled 
them at Prairie la Crosse to join the main body en 
route. Teamsters, wagons, mules, and supplies were 
brought to Fort Atkinson in preparation for the 
journey. Arrangements were made for Second 
Lieutenant Benjamin Fox to move over from Fort 
Crawford with twenty-five men of Captain Knowl- 
ton's company to occupy Fort Atkinson during 
Morgan's absence; and the day for the departure 
was set. 

On that hot June day the cavalcade moved slowly 
north from the post on Turkey River, headed for 
Wabasha's Prairie on the Mississippi. The govern- 
ment had provided 110 wagons with civilian team- 
sters to haul the Indians, their goods, and supplies 


for the trip, while the traders and Mission and 
Agency folks furnished about 56 more. Four of the 
supply wagons were hauled by six-mule teams. The 
Indians, variously estimated from 2100 to 2800, 
either rode on the 1600 ponies or squatted on the 
bumpy beds of the army wagons. Squalling papooses 
rode in *^kyaks'' or sacks of hides hung over the 
ponies, helping to swell the volume of sound made 
by the crawling caravan. Oxen driven by soldiers 
hauled the two lumbering cannon, and the handful 
of mounted volunteers, Iowa boys from farm and 
shop, rode alongside and behind the train, keeping 
both the Indians and some 143 cattle from wander- 
ing away from the route. 

In the late afternoon a halt was made for the 
night. Five hundred tents erected for the accom- 
modation of the Indians and a hundred more for the 
soldiers, teamsters, and the Agency and Mission 
people, made a city of canvas on the prairie. Soon, 
before hundreds of tiny gleaming campfires, troop- 
ers and squaws baked dough and roasted meat on 
sticks while the aroma of boiling coffee rose above 
the other smells of the camp. 

The travel next day afforded no unusual excite- 
ment. The creaking wagons moved slowly north, 
dipping into valleys of lush prairie grass, fording 
streams, and crawling over bare hills. On the morn- 
ing of the third day, however, the Indians refused to 
move until they had buried with appropriate cere- 
monies one of their number who had died the night 



before. Even when the ceremonial dancing and 
wailing was ended the soldiers had difficulty in get- 
ting their charges to start, for many of them wanted 
to take their belongings and return to their old 
hannts about the fort and the mission. 

Captain Morgan had instnicted his men to be 
ready for an attack or trouble at any time, day or 
night, and when camp was pitched guards were 
posted at regular intervals to prevent the Indians 
from breaking through the lines. One night a bullet 
whizzed past the sentinel at post number three, 
and he yelled the alarm, **Post Number Three, 
C-O-M-E, ' ' drawing out the last word in a long wail. 
The word spread that the Indians were trying to 
break through the lines and soon the soldiers were in 
full chase, but Morgan halted them fearing that the 
shot was a ruse to get the troops away from the 
camp so that the Indians could plunder the wagons. 
He ordered the men to lie on their arms until morn- 
ing holding their horses in readiness for an attack. 
Daybreak came with no fuii;her alarm and after 
breakfast the Indians started on, the soldiers fol- 

One afternoon several days later the advance 
gua;rd noticed that part of the Indian braves who 
often pushed on ahead of the main caravan had ap- 
parently gone over a hill into a ravine off the trail. 
Supposing that they had turned aside for water, the 
guard followed their trail and soon came to a spring. 
After refreshing themselves and watering their 


mounts they followed the ravine to the Boot Eiver, 
planning to go down the river bank to regain the 
main trail. Before they had gone far they saw 
through the brush across the river a number of 
Winnebago warriors in hiding, and one of them be- 
hind a clump of bushes in the act of shooting some- 
thing. A shot rang out, and back across the river 
came splashing a trader urging his horse at full 
speed, and yelling for help at the top of his voice. 
Supposing that he had been shot the advance guard 
jumped their horses into the river, crossed over and 
caught the fleeing Winnebago. He declared that he 

. did not shoot at the trader, that, in fact, he did not 
see him until after he had fired. The soldiers turned 

I him loose and soothed the ruffled feelings of the 
trader with a liberal gift of venison. Afterwards it 

j was learned that the braves had stationed themselves 
in the brush planning to shoot the first white man to 
cross the river, and this was to be the signal for a 
general onslaught. The unexpected appearance of 
the advance guard from the ravine had frustrated 
their plans. 

At this point a halt was made for five days for the 
Indians were restless and at first refused to go 
farther. This stop permitted the soldiers to wash 
their clothes, to sew on buttons, and to rest their 
jaded horses, while it allowed the teamsters to mend 
broken traces and to repair the wagons. On Sunday 
the Reverend David Lowry preached to the soldiers, 
teamsters, traders, and Agency folks, dwelling upon 



their dangerous position among merciless Indians 
and their dependence upon Divine Providence. 

That night a band of Indians sneaked away and a 
detachment of soldiers despatched in pursuit took 
two days to find the runaways and drive them back 
to camp. After this outbreak the Winnebago trav- 
elled along peaceably for several days causing no 
trouble, although the braves at times would dash 
madly ahead, then rejoin the train when camping 
time arrived. 

Toward eleven o'clock one night the alarm call 
rang out from Post Number Four arousing the sleep- 
ing soldiers who rushed to the post to assist the 
guard. He had stopped an Indian who said he was 
chief Little Hill, and he asked to be conveyed to 
headquarters for a secret council. At the council he 
stated that a band of renegade Sioux living on 
Wabasha's Prairie had entered into a conspiracy 
with the AVinnebago to forbid the passing of the 
caravan through their land on the ground that the 
Winnebago were killing all the game of the Sioux. 
The Winnebago were to pretend to be afraid and to 
insist on going to the lower end of Wabasha's Prai- 
rie, thence up the Mississippi by steamboat. When 
the caravan had reached the lower end of the Prairie, 
the Sioux and the Winnebago were to join forces to 
kill all the whites and appropriate the teams, cattle, 
government stores, arms, and ammunition. Then 
they would go back from the river where the Great 
Father's boys could not find them, form a new tribe 
and enjoy the spoils of victory. 


Captain Morgan decided to send Corporal Thomas 
Cox with eight men to make their way with all pos- 
sible haste to the Mississippi and to get word to the 
commanding officers at Fort Snelling and at Fort 
Crawford to come at once to the lower end of Wa- 
basha's Prairie with soldiers, cannon, and equip- 
ment. The detail was passed through the lines early 
in the morning and succeeded in eluding the Indians. 
Ten anxious days passed. 

True to Little HilPs warning the Winnebago 
hunters began to return pretending fear and report- 
ing that the Sioux had ordered them off their hunt- 
ing grounds and had chased them with murderous 
intent. Finally a bod^^ of Sioux appeared and for- 
bade further advance through their country, ordering 
the caravan off their land. During the second night 
after this occurrence, Corporal Cox and his squad 
returned with the word that Captain Seth Eastman 
with a company of regulars from Fort Snelling and 
Captain Wiram Knowlton with his volunteers from 
Fort Crawford would reinforce Morgan at the 

When the cavalcade reached the head of the Prai- 
rie a high steep bluff blocked the way to the plain 
below. To lower the wagons required a detail of 
sixteen men who, under the command of First Lieu- 
tenant John H. McKenny, let down each wagon by 
tying a rope around the rear axle and then taking a 
turn around a tree near the edge of the bluff. It took 
all day long to lower the government wagons and at 



sunset several wagons belonging to the Agency and 
Mission people remained at the top. The company 
had ridden on and gone into camp about five miles 
away at the foot of Wabasha *s Prairie, and when the 
last government wagon was on its way, Lieutenant 
McKenny ordered his men to mount and follow. 
Soon after they started they met J onathan Fletcher, 
the Indian Agent, and a trader by the name of Pratt 
with an order from Captain Morgan for the detail 
to help them down with their wagons. McKenny 
replied that his men had worked hard all day without 
any dinner, that they were now going to have some- 
thing to eat, and that Fletcher and Pratt might go 
to h — 1 with their order. This disobedience of orders 
might have caused trouble had not difficulties of a 
more serious nature intervened. 

Captain Eastman had already arrived with one 
nine-pound cannon, sixty northern Sioux, and forty 
regulars. The soldiers went into camp on the lower 
end of the prairie, while most of the Indians turned 
off into a ravine out of sight of the troops. Two of 
the Winnebago chiefs. Broad-face and Little Hill, did 
not enter into the conspiracy although some of their 
men did, and the two chieftains with the remnants of 
their bands came down the Prairie and camped near 
the soldiers. Wabasha, the chief of the renegade 
Sioux, permitted his band to join with the Winne- 
bago, but he himself stayed in his wigwam some four 
or five miles up the river. 

The soldiers posted double guards while they were 


waiting for Knowlton to arrive, the Indians mean- 
while appearing in small groups on the tops of near- 
by hills spying on the camp. With the arrival of the 
contingent from Fort Crawford all hands set to 
work to prepare for an attack. The steamboat which 
had brought the troops was tied up to the bank with 
a full head of steam ready for use. Then the covered 
wagons were run end to end in a semi-circle enclos- 
ing almost an acre, beginning at a point on the river 
above the boat and swinging back to the river at 
about the same distance below. The troops barri- 
caded this enclosure by rolling barrels of flour, pork, 
and beans, against the wagon wheels on the inside, 
leaving only a small space for entrance. This enclo- 
sure they dubbed the **bull pen'\ Inside were 
placed the Indians brought by Eastman, and they 
displayed their fighting spirit by dancing furiously 
around some small flags stuck in the ground. 

When the barricade was finished Captain Eastman 
sent a detachment of eight cavalrymen to the Indians 
commanding them to come down the Prairie and to 
proceed peaceably up the river. The latter agreed 
to come and did not offer to molest the messengers, 
however, they waited until the troopers had returned 
almost to the camp, when with shouts and cries that 
made the hills and dales reecho with the sound the 
braves dashed down the Prairie, armed for battle. 
They were painted beyond recognition, splattered 
with red, their hair set up on end and colored red, as 



When they came within range they were ordered 
to halt, and seeing three bristling cannon with the 
aprons off, the gunners standing with lighted fuse, 
the cavalry with carbines loaded and sabers ready, 
the infantry in line and prepared to fire, the Indians 
halted in dismay. The chiefs and officers were dis- 
posed to settle the difficulty without a fight if pos- 
sible but many of the braves and soldiers wished to 
see who was master of the situation. A council was 
called halfway between the two forces, and here the 
Indians consented to go on up the river. Thus was 
the incipient revolt crushed by a stem display of 
force. The officers turned over a number of beeves 
as a present to the Indians who would take after one 
on their ponies and riddle it with bullets until they 
were stopped by the soldiers. 

With the one steamboat, chartered by the govern- 
ment at one hundred dollars per day, and two small 
barges the soldiers set to work to transport the 
stores, animals, and Indians up the river. First 
Captain Eastman and his command were returned 
to Fort Snelling, then Captain Knowlton and his 
men were taken down stream to Prairie du Chien. 
Morgan's men sent boatload after boatload upstream 
as fast as possible but the Mississippi became so low 
that the steamboat or barges would run aground on 
sand bars and the men at Wabasha's Prairie never 
knew exactly when to have a load ready. Sometimes 
when one of the boats that made regular trips be- 
tween St. Louis and St. Paul reached the Prairie, 


the soldiers wonld compel tlie captain to stop for a 
load of Indians much to the disgust of the passen- 
gers. During the delay at the Prairie the troopers 
had little to do except to stand guard and to see that 
the constantly dwindling bands of Indians did not 
stray away too far. The soldiers celebrated July 4, 
1848, by fighting a sham battle in which they fired 
several rounds of small arms and let the cannon 
howl a few times. The Indians ran in all directions 
and hid in the ravines thinking that Morgan's 
Braves'' were beginning an attack. For amusement 
the men swam in the Mississippi, or played ball, 
while the Indians loafed or hunted. A small detach- 
ment accompanied each load up the river so that only 
a handful of soldiers remained to escort the last 

The encampment had dwindled until only a few 
goods and part of three tribes of Indians remained. 
Dandy's band had crossed the river into Wisconsin, 
Four-Eyes with part of his band had gone about six 
miles down the river where they camped and Yellow 
Thunder, becoming disheartened, declared that he 
was going back home to the burial ground of his 
fathers, and with the remnant of his followers start- 
ed home. The Braves" started after him in a 
soaking rain, fifteen soldiers against fifty warriors. 
At nightfall they came upon the band dancing about 
a camp fire. Late at night, when the tired Indians 
sank down to sleep exhausted from their violent ex- 
ertions, the soldiers crept up, surrounded the band, 



seized the guns, and removed the locks. The next 
morning the crestfallen runaways trailed back to the 

Another small detachment brought back Four- 
Eyes' band and the soldiers made ready to fire the 
cannon which was the signal agreed upon for 
Dandy's followers to return. They loaded the can- 
non on the barge, pushed over to the east bank of the 
river and fired one shot. The recoil of the piece 
surged the barge against the steamboat with such 
force that the men removed the gun to shore. Here 
they let it roar a few times and the Indians came 
yelling, some afoot, some on ponies, and others up 
the river in canoes. The soldiers put the cannon 
and the Indians on board the steamboat, loaded the 
ponies on the barge and then steamed back across 
the river for the camp equipment and supplies. In 
the afternoon of that day the last load started to- 
ward Fort Snelling. 

From the hurricane deck the soldiers viewed the 
desolate appearance of the lower Wabasha where 
recently stood a small city of tents, and the highly 
colored battle array. Wabasha's village slipped 
past, and the boat approached the rocky cliff known 
as the Maiden's Eock. Twilight came and the steam- 
er plowed its way into Lake Pepin. All night long 
the spray from the prow spattered over the sleeping 
men till their blankets were as wet as though they 
had been dipped in the river. Above the mouth of 
the St. Croix Eiver the big barge with all the sol- 


diers' horses on board except four which were on 
the small barge, stuck on a sand bar. With diffi- 
culty it was worked off and the soldiers whose horses 
were on it received orders to get on the barge, cut 
loose from the steamboat, make for the shore and 
continue their journey by land. The four soldiers 
whose horses were on the little barge continued the 
journey on the steamboat. The rest floated the big 
barge down stream to Hastings where they landed. 

From here they rode through rain and mud to St. 
Paul arriving several hours after the docking of the 
steamer. The Indians had gone on out of town and 
so the cavalrymen camped about a mile below the 
Falls of St. Anthony to await supplies and orders 
from Captain Morgan. Word came soon that the 
supplies for the rear guard were on another steam- 
boat stuck on a sand bar twenty miles below St. Paul. 
The guard received orders to await the coming of 
the wagons vdth. these supplies, then to overtake the 
caravan. Two days later two wagons loaded with 
barrels of flour, pork, and beans from the stranded 
boat arrived. W^ith plenty to eat, delightful weather, 
and good health, the men told their longest yarns, 
sang their best songs, and rested soundly, lulled to 
sleep by the roar of the Falls of St. Anthony. 

The next morning the rear guard set out along the 
river and followed the Eed Eiver trail until they 
overtook the caravan which had encamped on a 
beautiful stretch of prairie. Warm were the greet- 
ings for a month had elapsed since all had been 



together. Here they halted from Friday until Mon- 
day, spending Saturday in washing and mending 
clothes, horse racing, jumping, hunting, fishing, and 
gambling. Divine service was held on Sunday. 

On Monday the march was resumed. Since the 
caravan was expected to arrive about two months 
before it finally came, some traders had stationed 
themselves along the trail supplied with whiskey to 
sell on the sly to get the loose change of the soldiers 
as well as the furs from the Indians. One of these 
traders had a fat pig of about two hundred pounds 
which he allowed to run at large near his shanty 
which was hidden in the woods some distance from 
the road. The pig, hearing the rattling wagons of 
the caravan, ambled out to see what was happening. 
The teamsters seeing him chased him under the 
wagons to the other side of the train. The rear 
guard saw what was happening and one by one they 
began to drop out of ranks and to slip into the brush. 
When the wagon hauling the traps of the rear guard 
came alongside this spot the boys came out carrying 
the carcass of a fine fat animal and loaded it into 
the wagon. As they drew near camp they met a 
sergeant returning to learn what had happened. To 
his question as to what was in the wagon, the boys 
answered ''bear meaf as it was not covered. That 
night officers and men feasted on fresh pork. 

At Sauk Rapids a halt was made to hold a council 
with the Sioux and Chippewa who wanted to hear 
specifically just how and under what conditions the 


Winnebago were to occupy the neutral strip between 
them. Here assembled the Indian agents and help- 
ers, the Mission officers, the teamsters, the engineers 
detailed to erect buildings for the Mission and 
Agency, the cavalry, and thousands of Indians. 

An armed guard was thrown around the council 
grove and the rest of the soldiers mingled with the 
crowd to maintain order. Fletcher, the Agent, 
called the meeting to order, a chaplain offered 
prayer and the Indian chiefs in long speeches pre- 
sented their views as to what should be the relation- 
ship between the tribes. During the second morning 
of the council a terrific thunder storm broke up the 
meeting. The wind tore the tents from their fasten- 
ings while almost a continuous roar of deafening 
thunder followed the dazzling flashes of lightning, 
and the rain came down in torrents. An unusually 
fierce flash of lightning struck a Winnebago tent and 
killed seven Indians. This occurrence ended the 
council temporarily for the Indians took three days 
to carry out the funeral ceremonies while the sol- 
diers righted the overturned wagons and tents and 
dried their clothes. 

At the close of the pow-wow where the Indians 
danced, wailed, and chanted while the throbbing 
drums kept time, the council reconvened. All parties 
reached an agreement which was announced by the 
firing of a cannon. The afternoon was spent in a 
general jollification, Indians and soldiers competing 
in footraces, wrestling, dancing, and feasting. 



From this point Captain Morgan sent out an ad- 
vance guard to select the best site for the location of 
the new Mission and Agency buildings while the 
main train followed. Both the advance guard and 
the main caravan halted at a favorable place for a 
camp at the head of the Long Prairie River. The 
spot was favored by most of the scouts, but some of 
the traders felt that a better location could be found 
farther down stream. The scouts, however, saw no 
place that equalled the head of Long Prairie and so 
the men staked out the ground for the new buildings. 
The engineers erected some saw mills to prepare 
lumber while part of the force built some shacks to 
house the supplies. Others hunted and fished or 
gathered huckleberries to add variety to the regular 
rations of pork, beans, and hardtack. When the 
buildings were well under way the guard returned to 
the encampment at Sauk Rapids. 

While part of Morgan's command had escorted the 
caravan to the head of Long Prairie, another part 
had scoured the country, raiding the whiskey traders 
and carrying out the agreement of the Sauk Rapids 
council. One of these groups had made a trip to the 
Crow Wing River. Here they found a man living in 
a shanty, but he denied having any whiskey. How- 
ever, they started a search and in a little place under 
the bank like a spring house, they found a keg with 
four or five gallons of liquor in it. One of the sol- 
diers searching along the river bank, saw something 
that looked like a rope tied to a rock out in the river. 


He called the attention of the others to it, then waded 
out and pulled it up. Tied to the other end of the 
rope he found a barrel of whiskey, pure stuff bear- 
ing the stamp of W. G. Haun who had a distillery- 
near the Mississippi in the northeast corner of 
Clinton County, Iowa. The trader denied any 
knowledge of it, but that night he or some Indians 
stampeded the horses of the soldiers so that they 
had to shoulder their saddles and start back to camp 
on foot. Some of their comrades found and returned 
the horses to the footsore troopers whom they found 
lying under trees unable to travel further. 

At Sauk Rapids the men heard that the Mexican 
War was over and the main topic of conversation 
was when would they get out of the service. Their 
teamsters came through regularly hauling supplies 
from St. Paul to the new agency site. One evening 
as the teams came into camp they had new drivers, 
the old drivers sitting on the load. Speculation ran 
rife as to what it meant. When the bugle call sound- 
ed the line was filled faster than it ever had been 
before. The command Attention!^' rang out, then 
the order was read for the troops to return to Fort 
Atkinson, Iowa, to be discharged. ^*Boom!" went 
the cannon and the celebration continued until late at 
night. The next morning the men received word to 
wash and mend their clothes in preparation for the 
return trip. By this time the troop presented a 
ragged appearance ; some of the men were entirely 
bare-footed; some had lost the knees out of their 



trousers, and others had lost the seats. Jackets 
were torn and out at the elbows. All day was spent 
in mending. 

Eeveille, the next morning, received a prompt 
response for the men were eager to load the wagons 
and to set out on the return trip. They made rapid 
progress in piling tents and equipment in the army 
transports and mounting their horses. Morgan ^s 

Braves'' fired a parting salute and started for 

Just before reaching Fort Snelling the troop 
halted for a day to wash their belts and scour their 
equipment preparatory to delivering them up at the 
Fort the next day. The following morning, march- 
ing through the Fort in single file they delivered up 
their arms and accouterments, then rode out the 
south side of the Fort, thence to the Mississippi to 
await a steamboat at a landing. Here, with the 
horses loaded on a barge, they went on board for the 
trip down river. One old cook stove on the forward 
deck proved totally insufficient for use by nearly a 
hundred men and so when the dinner bell rang sev- 
eral of the soldiers filed in and took seats at the 
table much to the disgust of the passengers. The 
steamboat captain remonstrated but the men sat 
tight. One of the passengers from St. Louis, 
straightening up and putting his thumbs in the arm- 
holes of his jacket, asserted that he did not propose 
to eat with soldiers. At this several troopers started 
for him and he beat a precipitate retreat but the 


interposition of Lieutenant McKenny prevented 
trouble. He said that the soldiers were as good as 
he was and that he was good enough to eat with any- 
body and if they did not stop their fuss and let the 
soldiers eat he would take possession of the boat and 
put all the passengers ashore. The soldiers ate at 
the table. 

The steamboat slipped down stream between the 
foliage-clad banks of the upper Mississippi until 
McGregor's Landing opposite Prairie du Chien was 
reached. Here the troops rested for two days and 
the officers visited at Fort Crawford across the river. 
From this place the men started on the fifty mile trip 
along the Military Trail to Fort Atkinson, not in 
regular formation but each man setting his own 
pace. As the horses were in poor condition from 
insufficient food and the hard trip on the barge, the 
soldiers straggled back to the fort one by one. 

Shortly thereafter the Mustering Officer, Major 
A. S. Hooe, arrived at the Fort and the men pre- 
pared to make a hasty departure for home as soon 
as they were discharged. After breakfast on the 
morning of September 11, 1848, the company was 
formed in line on horseback, and as each name was 
called the Mustering Officer read the charges against 
the man for supplies purchased at the sutler's store 
and for equipment lost. When the name of a certain 
trooper who had returned almost in rags was called, 
the officer glancing up remarked, There's nothing 
against him and not much on him. ' ' 



When Major ITooe completed the roll call he 
praised the troops for what they had done, saying 
that they had gone through hardships and dangers 
without grumbling and that the name of the com- 
pany had remained untarnished. He hoped that the 
men would return home without committing depre- 
dations, and there return to work and be good citi- 
zens. Both Captain Morgan and Lieutenant Mc- 
Kenny addressed the men expressing thanks for 
their obedience to orders and the respect shown 
them during the time they had been in command. 

Then the men of Morgan's Company of Iowa Vol- 
unteers dispersed to their respective homes, to 
Burlington, to Dubuque, to Iowa City and other 
points, there to resume the labor of farm or store, or 
to practice again their professions. Although the 
men had not served on the battle fields of Mexico 
against their country's enemy they had performed 
honorably and bravely every task assigned them and 
had escorted successfully a restless band of Indians 
over a trail more than three hundred miles in length. 

Bruce E. Mahan 

With the First Iowa Infantry 

When the Civil War broke out, Henry ^Connor 
was a man of forty, already well known in the State 
of Iowa as a successful lawyer and a popular polit- 
ical orator. He enlisted as a private in Company A 
of the First Eegiment of Iowa Volunteers and 
served through the three months of active campaign- 
ing with that organization in Missouri in the sum- 
mer of 1861. The letter printed below was written 
by O'Connor and first appeared in the Muscatine 
Weekly Journal for August 2, 1861. Later it was 
reprinted in a brief history of the regiment written 
by O'Connor and published in 1862. 

On August 10, 1861, the First Iowa distinguished 
itself in the battle of Wilson's Creek. Soon there- 
after, the three months enlistment period having ex- 
pired, the regiment was mustered out. Most of the 
men re-enlisted in other organizations, O'Connor 
later attaining the grade of major in the Thirty- 
fifth Iowa Infantry. He resumed his law practice 
after the war and from 1867 to 1872 he served as 
Attorney General of the State. — The Editor. 

Camp Seigel[Sigel], Green County, Mo. 
Ten miles N. W. of Springfield, July 16, 1861. 
Friend Mahin : — I am so much of a stranger to the 




Journal of late, that I scarcely know how to ap- 
proach it. I am, as you see, very particular in dating 
my letter, not that there will be anything new to you 
in what I have to say, but that such of your readers 
as feel interested in the doings and misdoings of the 
First Iowa Regiment, may take map in hand and fol- 
low us through our long and somewhat tedious 
march ; and perhaps some of them may wish to pre- 
serve it. I can vouch for its accuracy — elegance of 
style of course you cannot expect, when you consider 
that I am sitting tailor fashion, with the tail-board 
of a wagon across my knees for a writing desk, in a 
noisy camp of six thousand men, and over two thou- 
sand horses and mules — drums beating, fifes squeal- 
ing, mules braying, horses neighing, men swearing, 
singing, and doing everything but praying. 

We are now encamped near the summit of the 
Ozark mountains in a beautiful region, and what is 
still better, surrounded by a warm-hearted. Union- 
loving people, who are ready and willing to make 
any sacrifice for our beloved country. The soil is 
rich but full of lime-stones, which show themselves 
on the surface of the ground about as thick as onions 
in Scott county, to the great annoyance of plowmen, 
and the especial annoyance of us poor devils who 
have to sleep on them every night. However, I must 
not get in advance of my story. 

We left Keokuk, June 13th, thence to Hannibal by 
boat, next moving by rail to Macon City, thence to 
Renick by rail, 30 miles, where we remained one 


night, and commenced our march to Boonville. This 
is the point at which some unfriendly correspondent 
of the Gate City says we took to the woods and got 
cut off, a statement no less injudicious than erro- 
neous, as I have no doubt it caused many a tear to be 
shed about our hearth-stones at home. We made 
the march to Boonville, 58 miles, in two days and 
three hours, on three meals, and that it was a good 
one we need no better evidence than Gen. Lyon's 
expression to Col. Bates, that he knew of no better 
march even by old regular soldiers. We staid in 
Camp Cameron at Boonville till the morning of the 
3d of July, when, as a part of General Lyon's com- 
mand, we started on our march for south-western 
Missouri, to any point where we could lay our hands 
on the traitor Jackson. We made what is usually 
denominated forced marches, twenty-four miles a 
day, except one day, when it poured down a drench- 
ing rain on us, we marched 18 miles — the Iowa boys 
at the head of the column, with mud and water run- 
ning off them in the shape of a mixture of rain and 
sweat — company A in the van singing national airs, 
under the lead of that little nightingale from your 
office, Emerson Upham, who, by the way, has shown 
himself to be one of the toughest and best soldiers in 
the regiment. When we had marched eighteen miles 
and left the two Missouri regiments forty-five min- 
utes behind, and their men dropping by the road-side 
by the score, the surgeon of Col. Boemstein's regi- 
ment rode in a gallop to the head of the column, and 



told the General that unless he halted the column he 
would kill all the Missouri men. We halted right in 
the rain. The rain held up in an hour or two; we 
built a fire, dried our clothes on us, (the best way 
always to save taking cold,) got our supper of some 
healthy crackers and good coffee, run round like 
antelopes, and in the evening to the surprise of 
every one, and to the terror of the St. Louis boys, 
we had a skirmish drill. I believe it was at this 
point that Gen. Lyon, who first called us Gipsies be- 
cause of our ragged and dirty appearance, chris- 
tened us the * * Iowa Grey Hounds. ' ' 

At Grand Eiver, in Henry county, we came up 
with Col. Sturgis' command, consisting of two vol- 
unteer regiments from Kansas, five hundred regu- 
lars, and four pieces of artillery, which, joined to 
our force of twenty-five hundred troops, put Gen. 
Lyon at the head of a column of six thousand, with 
ten pieces of artillery. Crossing Grand river with 
such a force of men, wagons and horses on a rickety 
old ferry boat, was, as you can perceive, a tedious 
process. It was prosecuted night and day, and the 
whole column taken over without a single accident to 
man or beast. We marched from there to the Osage 
river, at a point ten miles southwest of Osceola. 
Here, again, we had to go through the disagreeable 
process of crossing the troops on about the meanest 
thing in the shape of a ferry boat that I ever saw. 
But Gen. Lyon was there, and the thing had to go 


Just before starting over the river in the evening, 
some Union men came into camp and gave informa- 
tion to the General of about eight hundred secession- 
ists being encamped at a point about twelve miles 
off. Colonel Bates was ordered to detail from his 
regiment a sufficient force to take them or break them 
up. Five companies — A, C, D, F and K — were 
accordingly detailed for that purpose, and got all 
ready to start, under command of Major Porter, 
silently, as soon as it was dark ; when suddenly, and 
to the great disappointment of the boys, the order 
was countermanded. It appeared that a messenger 
had just arrived from Springfield with the intelli- 
gence that Col. Seigers[SigePs] command, of about 
fifteen hundred, were in Springfield surrounded by 
about eight thousand secessionists, under the lead of 
Claib Jackson nominally, but Ben. McCuUoch really, 
for J ackson is not fit to lead a blind horse to water. 
He is a coward as well as a traitor. This news, of 
course, stirred up the old Greneral, who seemed to 
feel sure of his game this time, having missed Jack- 
son at Boonville. 

We went on with the crossing, and got our regi- 
ment over by four o'clock in the morning; no sleep, 
with orders to march at five ; made fires, hurried up 
our breakfast, swallowed it and started at quarter 
past five. This was our great march, kept up 
through a hot sun until three o'clock. We camped, 
got supper, and at half -past 5, when we were think- 
ing of fixing our beds, the General's bugle sounded a 



forward marclL Off we started, and after measur- 
ing off forty-five miles in twenty-two hours — recol- 
lect with the loss of two nights ' sleep, and only three 
hours' rest — we fetched up in a cornfield, on the 
bank of a pretty stream; corn reeking with heavy 
dew, ground muddy from recent rains, men shiver- 
ing, sleepy and hungry. We were ordered to get our 
breakfasts, what sleep we could, and be ready to 
march in two hours. Springfield, still thirty-five 
miles off, must be reached to-night. Of course, in 
this long march a great many fell back exhausted, 
but most of our regiment came up within an hour. 
Many dropped down in the wet and mud and went to 
sleep ; some went to making a fire and stirring round 
to prevent chilling — myself among the latter. In a 
little over three hours we had got breakfast, sleep, 
rest, &c., &c., and were again on our weary, swinging 
march, but with many sore feet. We thought of 
nothing, however, but coming up with Jackson, when 
lo I after we had gone about five miles, the General 
received the news of Jackson's defeat by Seigel 
[Sigel], and his subsequent hasty flight. Of course 
this rendered any more forced marching unneces- 
sary; so after marching a few miles further to a 
good creek, we encamped for the day, cooked, slept, 
washed ourselves, our shirts, &c. Next day, Satur- 
day, we marched to this place, where we have rested 
ever since. 

We spend our time very pleasantly. The intervals 
between drill and parade are spent in looking up 


some delicacy in the way of bread, butter, chickens, 
&c. A good many wagons come into camp with those 
things, and those of the boys who have not gambled 
off their money have a little left. 

I have given you a rough but faithful sketch of our 
soldiering for the last four or five weeks. How do 
you like it ? It is better to read of, than to be a part 
of. Like others, perhaps, you will be astonished to 
hear that your correspondent stood the march all 
through without giving out or resorting to the 
wagons. Pretty fair for a soldier weighing only 
one hundred pounds. Our officers had not a much 
better time than the men. Capt. Cummins is a per- 
fect horse to march. It is rumored that he is going 
to Washington with a view of a commission in the 
regular army; or, failing in that, to get a company 
accepted, and then come home and raise it. 

George Satterlee is acting Quartermaster, and on 
that account is very little with the company. He is 
unusually popular with the regiment, and his busi- 
ness knowledge and habits fit him admirably for the 

Ben. Beach is, and always has been, a favorite with 
the company. Always at his place, wherever that is, 
impartial, modest and kind-hearted, he is seen and 
felt, but not often heard. He desires to raise a com- 
pany and stay in the army, if he has a chance. I 
predict that he will make his mark as a soldier. 

Col. Bates has gained very much in favor with his 
men during this march. He evinced an anxiety for 



the comfort of his men which endeared him to them, 
and he assumes a respectful independence in the 
presence of his superiors which the citizen-soldier 
likes to see. 

Col. Merritt and Major Porter have always been 
personally popular with the regiment. We have had 
none of those disgusting scenes of whipping, bucking, 
gagging, &c., in our regiment, but we have seen too 
much of it in the others while at Boonville and here, 
amongst regulars and volunteers. A great deal of it 
in the St. Louis regiment. In the first Kansas regi- 
ment a young man named Cole was shot on dress 
parade, for killing a fellow soldier. Four balls en- 
tered his body, and one his neck. He died instantly. 

In a wayside grocery and gambling shop near the 
Osage river, two soldiers belonging to the regulars 
were murdered. The grocery and house were burned 
by order of the General, and the grocery keeper, 
who proved to be the murderer of at least one of the 
men, was taken, tried before the general, convicted, 
sentenced to be hanged, and is now under guard 
awaiting execution as soon as the General shall 
order. He deserves his fate richly. He is an old 
offender. These are incidents of news. 

I had almost forgotten to say a word about Gen. 
Lyon. A man rather below the middle stature, with 
no surplus flesh, red hair and whiskers, fast ripening 
to grey, small blue eye, vigor, energy, fearlessness, 
and a dogged determination to accomplish his pur- 
pose at all hazards, are the prominent traits of his 


character. Finish the picture yourself — I must 
close to get this to Springfield. 

We expect to be home about the 20th or 25th of 
August, and will be glad to see the people whether 
they will to see us or not. 


Paying the First Iowa 

Hiram Price, early leader in the fight for prohi- 
bition in Iowa, Member of Congress from 1863 to 
1869 and from 1877 to 1881, and Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs from 1881 to 1885, was forty-seven 
years old at the outbreak of the Civil War and did 
not enlist; but he gave infinite service to the cause 
as a civilian both in Iowa and in Congress. The 
letter printed below reveals an instance of this ser- 
vice. The delivery of the pay to the volunteers of 
the First Iowa must have been accomplished in the 
latter part of June or the first of July, 1861. On the 
third of July the regiment left Boonville for the 
south and a few weeks later were engaged in their 
one great battle, that of Wilson's Creek. The orig- 
inal of the letter is in the manuscript collection of 
Kirkwood Correspondence in the Historical Depart- 
ment at Des Moines, Iowa. — The Editor. 

Aug. 13th 1886 

Hon. Saml. J. Kirkwood 
Dear Sir 

I have just reed the Davenport Gazette 
giving an account of the reunion on the 10*^ Inst. 
I am glad to know that you were there and had a 
chance to talk to ^^the hoys/* After the lapse of a 



quarter of a century, I have not forgotten how the 
Ist Iowa was recruited, clothed (so far as shoes & 
blouses were concerned) and fed. I know some- 
thing about how blankets, quilts & comforts were 
begged & borrowed in Davenport to fix up quarters 
in Nicholas Fejervary's block of buildings for the 
first companies. I have not forgotten how I suc- 
ceeded (after repeated refusals by other parties 
whose patriotism did not reach their pockets) in 
getting Dan. Moore to feed them if I would be per- 
sonally responsible for the payment. I have not for- 
gotten, that Ezekiel Clark and myself, took our own 
money $33,000 without any authority of law, or any 
certainty of ever getting one cent of it back, and 
travelled to Missouri, to pay the men who had left 
home & friends to risk their lives in defence of the 
Union & the old flag. We found the 2^ Iowa scat- 
tered along the E. Road all the way from Hannibal 
to St. Jo. & paid them their proportion. Then Mr. 
Clark was compelled to go to New York, leaving me 
alone to hunt up the 1^* Iowa. I failed to get across 
the country to where I supposed the regiment was 
because the Rebels (our Southern Brothers) had pos- 
session of the roads and there were more of them 
than of me. So my only hope of success was by a 
flank movement, which required a detour via St. 
Louis. I succeeded finally by river, rail & foot in 
reaching Jefferson City, carrying my funds (not 
Govt, funds) in an old fashioned Iron bound hand 
trunk, or satchel, Jefferson City was full of Rebels 



& I was an entire Stranger and alone. Col. Boern- 
stien was in command of some troops at that place, 
with his head quarters in the State House. I called 
upon him, told him who I was, and that I was hunt- 
ing the Jowa, Eegt. to pay them some money, hut 
I did not know exactly where the Begt. was, and 
asked him if he could tell me where to find the Eegt. 
He said he could not tell for certain, but it was up 
the river in the direction of Booneville. I then asked 
him, if he thought I could go by waggon safely 
through the country. His reply was * * You get your 
troat cut before you get five miles from here.'' 
Then I asked him if he would give me an escort, to 
which he replied, have not men enough to pro- 
tect myself here. ' ' With these Mnd words and this 
cheering outlook I left him. I was armed with a 
single barrelled pistol about three inches long. I 
had then about $22,000 in my hand trunk, because 
I had only paid the 2^ Iowa and the 1^* & 3^ were yet 
to be paid. I sat up all of that night, (It was nearly 
night when I left the hospitable quarters of Col. 
Boemstien) with my hand trunk between my feet, 
and my artilery (3 inch pistol) in position ready to 
repel an attack of the enemy. 

Now you will notice the Col. had refused me any 
assistance, and had given me the cheering assurance 
that if I attempted to reinforce Genl. Lyon with my 
money, I would get my troat cut. But I got there all 
the same, and ^Hhe hoys'' were glad to see me, and I 
was more than glad to be able to shed a little sun- 


light Tip [the] dark pathway upon which they had 
entered. The record of the re-nnion of the 1^* Iowa 
is noticable for the conspicuous manner in which the 
names of Mr. Clark and the Subscriber are not men- 
tioned. While you have money muscle or brains to 
use for the benefit of the people you amt. to some- 
thing, but not otherwise — 

Very truly &c 

H. Price 

Comment by the Editor 


Old days, old ways — how quickly we let them 
slip. Almost pathetically sometimes the older mem- 
bers of the community try to hold them in our re- 
membrance. But we turn from them with little 
patience and fasten our eyes and attention upon the 
infinitesimal present, as a speculator scans the quo- 
tations on the tape of a stock ticker, engrossed in the 
ups and downs of the market and indifferent to the 
fluctuations of the week before. 

We detach ourselves from the past and live only 
in the present. Events lead us by the nose. Condi- 
tions of life change and with lightning like facility 
we adjust ourselves to the new and forget the old. 
The age of furnaces and motor cars and tiny yards 
has so captured us that the base-burner and the old 
gray mare and the wide-doored barn and ample 
yard and orchard are fast dimming memories. The 
sight of a patient horse hitched to an old fashioned 
buggy and standing with drooping head at the curb 
of a modem street stirs us only as something alien, 
even though we may have spent many hours as a 
boy currying just such a horse and greasing the 
axles of a similar buggy. 

The men who drove those once fashionable equip- 
pages, who banked the foundations of their houses 
and perhaps stuffed the window cracks with cotton 



to keep out the cold, and emptied hods of rattling 
coal into the tops of base-burners, are being gath- 
ered to their still more ancient fathers. And with 
them are going those faithful souls who sewed the 
rag rugs and kept the whatnot dusted, who took the 
pain of chillblains out of our feet with tubs of cold 
water and the ache out of our childish hearts with 
motherly comfort, who patched our trousers worn 
through with sliding down the shed roof, made 
batches of doughnuts and cookies of a Saturday 
morning, and sent us down to the monthly church 
supper laden with huge warm pots of baked beans 
and scalloped potatoes. 

If the memories of our childhood bind us so little 
to the past, how quickly will fade from the memory 
of man the sharpness of detail of the times that are 
gone. Only from the lips of older men and histo- 
rians come words that remind us of that which once 
was ; and we are prone to humor and forget the one 
and find little interest in the other. Sometimes nov- 
elists draw us a more or less clear picture of other 
days, but usually they are kept too busy explaining 
somewhat bewilderedly, but with no less positive- 
ness and detail, just what our perplexed modem life 
is driving at. 


It is likely that the rather incidental sources of. 
information will be the most illuminating in our 
study of past conditions — the hurried newspapers, 




the personal letters and infrequent diaries, the 
treasured souvenirs of events, social, religious, and 
political, the portraits and random photographs of 
individuals and gatherings, of river fronts and 
bridges and steamboats, of streets and public 
squares and old buildings. 

Hunting with a camera for historic landmarks is 
recommended as an outdoor sport. There are no 
game laws that hinder. In fact the only way to pre- 
serve the game is to shoot it. Nor is it prohibited 
to shoot the young in this kind of sport. The street 
scenes that seem to us fresh with youth to-day will be 
historic to-morrow. If every town in the Middle 
West had a municipal album preserved at the city i 
hall or public library in which were placed views of I 
the infant village at six months and of the growing 
and changing town at frequent subsequent periods, 
what an interesting and valuable record we should 

It is probable that there is not extant in any one 
place a complete set of views of the buildings which 
served Iowa, State and Territory, as capitol. Fa- 
mous inns and taverns and forts have vanished, 
churches and academies have crumbled and gone, 
unvisualized except in the minds of those who will 
soon leave us. 

There is game in every county and an open season 
throughout the year. Let us take down the trusty 
camera and make the most of the sport. 

J. C. P. 

MARCH, 19^ 

Our First View of Vicksbiii-g 69 
Tjlf Xate the 1^1^14 . ^ 54 

v: THEtlDlTOR 

..Published MoNTHiyAr lowACmr By 

-The State HKTOMCAi SqcietyofIowa' 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in March 1922 No. 3 


Our First View of Vicksburg 

Know ye the land where bloom the citron bowers ? 

Where the gold-orange lights the dusky grove ? 
High waves the laurel, there, the myrtle flowers, 

And through a still blue heaven the sweet winds rove. 

Springtime of 1863 ! The long-drawn-out Vicks- 
burg campaign was in progress, more stubbornly 
than ever. Floods along the Mississippi — a deluge, 
in fact — cut a figure in the matter, on the Louisiana 
side especially, and often had effect on the move- 
ment of troops. The water rose higher than had 
been known for years. At that period of our coun- 
try's history (and perhaps now), the difference be- 
tween high and low water on the lower Mississippi 
was from twenty-five to fifty feet. One seventh of 
Louisiana was inundated — a great part of the low 
country. Swamps, rivers, and bayous overflowed. 
Our canal operations at Lake Providence and just 
above Vicksburg had aggravated matters immensely. 
Guerilla bands and the enemy's cavalry cut dykes 




and levees wherever it would do us most harm. 
Many dangerous crevasses occurred in this way. 

Our division of the Seventeenth Army Corps was 
on reserve, a circumstance we thought humiliating. 
We tarried on a big plantation twelve miles directly 
west of Vicksburg. 

Napoleon always put his best troops on reserve 
— the flower of his army", an officer told us. 

**Eats!" bellowed a cynical sergeant. **We're 
keepin' the lines open to the supply boats above 
Vicksburg. Lookin' after the hard tack and ammu- 
nition. That's it, me boy." 

This diagnosis was correct. All we had to do was 
to keep reasonably near the gun stacks, be ready for 
anything that might happen, and wait for orders. 

It is not entirely unpleasant, however, to be on 
reserve after you have met the enemy a few times 
and had an ample draught of the ruddy wine of 
glory. Afar you hear the rumble of the guns; the 
clamor and exultation of victory reach you ; those of 
the enemy you see are captives, whose dejection and 
unhappy situation awake your sympathy. You view 
the wreck of war, and the boastful signs of triumph. 
Before you reach a scene of combat the dead have 
been buried, and most repulsive sights have dis- 
appeared. You see war as many a general, his- 
torian, or politician sees it. 

Much around us awoke admiration. Beautiful 
groves fringed the glassy bayous. Trees in count- 
less varieties thrived in semi-tropic luxuriance — 



the magnolia, ash, pine, holly, cypress, beech, and 
hickory. Sweet-gum flourished and live oak tow- 
ered. Everywhere the stately trees were hung with 
trailing plumes of Spanish moss. 

On April 29th tremendous cannonading continued 
for hours, attracting the attention of all. It seemed 
a long way down the river. News came that Admiral 
Porter was bombarding Grand Gulf, and having a 
great fight there. The next day McPherson crossed 
the river lower down and moved inland. There was 
a battle at Port Gibson, the enemy was beaten, and 
hasty evacuation of Grand Gulf ensued. This left 
the Union fleet in control of the river from Port 
Hudson to Vicksburg. 

On May 5th a battalion of Confederates trudged 
by who had been captured three days previously at 
Port Gibson. It was soon observed that many of 
them were old friends of ours, having fought against 
us at Corinth. Captain Williams, who was wounded 
in that battle, the first day, walked up to one of them 
and said: 

'*I believe you are the gentleman who captured 
me at Corinth." 

Mutual recognition and a cordial hand-shake fol- 
lowed, and the Captain handed him a much needed 
five-dollar bill. We treated them well, gave them 
what little food we could spare, and assured them 
that as soon as they got through to the supply boats 
they would get everything they needed in abundance. 
A good deal of fun passed back and forth. 



'^Boys, you'll never get Vicksburg*', they told us. 

^^We'll stack arms on the levee there before sum- 
mer is over, ' ' we answered — a boast that came true. 
The unanimous belief in the Union army that Vicks- 
burg would fall was something remarkable. 

A tough looking crowd they were, many being 
barefooted, and all of them in rags. One of them 
shouted merrily: 

^'We can't dress as well as you, boys, but you 
know we can shoot as well. ' ' 

I saw many old men among them who had **seen 
better days ' ', an air of refinement not being obliter- 
ated by old clothes. The southern Conscription Act 
respected neither gray hairs or youthful bodies. A 
day or two afterwards General Sherman rode by at 
the head of the Fifteenth Army Corps. We hastened 
out to the roadside to silently greet so famous a 
leader — one destined, in another year, to command 
us all on another great field of action. 

A detachment of the First Heavy Artillery of the 
regular army also went by with a battery of siege 
guns which had helped repulse the foe on Sunday 
evening at Shiloh, and afterwards, at Corinth, had 
thundered from Fort Robinet, when a desperate as- 
sault was made on that earth work. As a large part 
of the rebel garrison in Vicksburg — most of it, in 
fact — consisted of Price's veterans, it seemed fun- 
ny to see the same old guns coming so far to trouble 
them once more. Sixteen strong oxen pulled each 


On May 11th our division left the Holmes planta- 
tion at sunrise ; we marched rapidly ; by eight o 'clock 
we had covered ten miles. Crossing a nameless 
bayou, we stacked arms along the Mississippi Eiver 
front — below Vicksburg, of course. On account of 
intense heat we rested in the shade of the groves 
until four in the afternoon — then marched again. 
At New Carthage we saw a wooden gunboat which 
had been very thoroughly peppered with cannon 
shot in the Grand Gulf engagement. Its guns, ma- 
chinery, and hull, to all intents and purposes, 
remained uninjured and ready for battle — an indi- 
cation of hurried marksmanship by the enemy. A 
large field hospital at the roadside was filled with 
sick and wounded. I was sorry to find among these 
lads a school boy friend of mine who had been shot 
through the thigh with a musket ball at Port Gibson. 
A funeral was in progress as we marched away. 
Innumerable snakes infested every wayside spot, 
and we killed great numbers of them. Fourteen-foot 
alligators swam in the bayous. Dismayed by the 
presence of so many human beings, they fled from 
one lagoon where hundreds of us went in bathing. 
A low, flat, hot, swampy country was around us. 

**It's hotter than Hades'', our Major observed. 

**Yes, I think it's hotter than Hell", an officer 
answered. Perspiration often penetrated water- 
proof knapsacks. 

All along the route we saw the smoking ruins of 
splendid plantation homes, costly sugar-houses, cot- 



ton gins, warehouses, and enormous bams, for we 
moved through one of the finest and richest sections 
of the South, and all this property was being cruelly 
and uselessly destroyed, in defiance of the rules of 
civilized warfare. How could we blame Southerners 
for hating us! This vandalism was perpetrated by 
the division of troops that marched immediately 
ahead of us, and was explained on the ground that 
a large number of those men came from Missouri, 
Kentucky, and other border States. They justified 
their conduct on the plea of retaliation. They had 
received many letters recounting atrocious deeds at 
their own homes perpetrated by Confederate guer- 
rillas and raiding bands of cavalry. They claimed 
to be **only fighting the devil with fire'\ 

On the following day our course lay away from 
the Mississippi, and we marched for fifteen miles 
along Lake St. Joseph, the opposite side of which 
was green with vernal woods that rose from the 
edge of the waters. The lake was a lovely sylvan- 
flood, and around its fertile shores had been one of 
the garden spots of Louisiana. Even as we gazed 
the country to the rear was one vast field of sugar 
cane and Indian corn, which in the distance resem- 
bled the green waves of the sea. Only the day be- 
fore, expensive homes, sugar mills, and cotton 
plants of great cost looked out upon the placid lake 
in proud serenity. Now, where we marched, were 
smouldering ruins, and for miles ahead we could see 
smoke and flames wrapping roofs and walls that 



towered high. I saw but one white civilian that day. 
Men, women, and children must have fled to the 
woods and fields — hidden away. These homes had 
been sumptuously furnished, several pianos being 
often seen near one of them. Little plundering was 
done, scarcely any — almost everything was burnt. 
Our division commander, that morning, had given 
orders that any man caught firing property along 
the route should be immediately stood up'' at the 
roadside and shot. The troops ahead of us either 
had full license to burn, or so fierce a determination 
to do so, that efforts to prevent proved unavailing. 
The burning went on. This most barbarous spec- 
tacle reminded us of what we had read in Gibbon 
concerning the passage of the Danube by the north- 
ern barbarians, whose advance was traced by the 
blaze of Roman villas. Cruelty has no effect in de- 
ciding military operations. Neither has destruction 
of private property, except in special cases covered 
by absolute military necessity. The loss inflicted 
along Lake St. Joseph was enormous. Wrongs per- 
petrated in Missouri and Kentucky by irresponsible 
outlaws were wiped out in Louisiana by trained 

Early the next day we marched eight miles and 
reached the Mississippi again at Hard Times Land- 
ing — a spot that did not belie its name. It gave us a 
fine view, however, of the captured fortress of Grand 
Gulf. When we embarked, and rapidly steamed 
down and across toward it, previous interest was 



intensified. Bluffs loomed from the water's brink. 1 
A new Vicksburg might have been created there, had 
not the enemy 's plans been frustrated. Everywhere 
on the sides of precipitous cliffs and lofty hills we 
saw forts, breastworks, and rifle pits. Only a little 
more time was needed. In the capture of the place 
our troops got several brass fieldpieces, five heavy 
siege guns, two battle flags, and a thousand prison- 
ers. Painted in white on the siege guns was an 
assertion that Admiral Porter captured them. 

Without land forces Grand Gulf might not have 
been taken in a thousand years. Porter's fleet 
fought five hours and a half; transports ran the 
blockade as they had done at Vicksburg ; then ferried 
troops across the river by thousands. At Port Gib- 
son a Confederate army was beaten, and the enemy 
fled from Grand Gulf that night to avoid capture. 
Nevertheless the gunboats fought bravely, as they 
always did. 

The day before we reached Grand Gulf the enemy 
was defeated again at Eaymond. McPherson then 
scattered another force and entered the capital of 
Mississippi, capturing twenty pieces of artillery. 
The army was now said to be in the rear of Vicks- 
burg. After we disembarked at Grand Gulf I made 
a visit to the forts. In one was a large siege gun 
that no cannonade had been able to silence. The 
reason was now apparent. On either side of the 
muzzle of the gun a strong post was deeply set in 
the ground, to which a negro slave had been chained. 


and a Confederate officer had stood near the pair of 
unfortunates with a drawn revolver, and forced 
them, under pain of instant death, to load the gun. 
When a negro was killed, another one took his place. 
How many perished in this way we had no means of 
knowing. The officer was finally blown to atoms. I 
saw the posts, chains, and manacles. Grand Gulf 
commanded not only the Mississippi Eiver, but also 
the mouths of Big and Little Black rivers — it domi- 
nated three rivers, and was a citadel moulded by 
Nature *s hand. 

Our immediate command, the Iowa Brigade, went 
into bivouac on a sandy flat, suffering from intense 
heat, and, like the rest, having a wretched time of it. 
The atmosphere that rose from swamps, rivers, and 
bayous under a sweltering sun engendered disease 
among some other troops. Eations were scant. We 
scarcely had enough to eat, but cheerfulness pre- 
vailed, for the situation was known to all. A great 
campaign was in rapid progress; quick movements 
outranked everything else. The boats were loaded 
with rations, above Vicksburg, but the trouble was 
to get them to us, for moves and changes occurred 
incessantly. Great numbers of us went bathing in 
the swollen tides of the Mississippi, which were 
treacherous and dangerous. One soldier was 
drowned, being drawn under by the headlong cur- 
rents. Bathing when over-heated injured many 
men, and the surgeons tried to stop the practice, but 
everyone was hot and nobody cared for orders. All 



civilians liad fled from town. We did not blame 

On May 14tli I wrote: **In the shade of the trees 
on the heights of Grand Gulf I view the glittering 
Mississippi, dotted with transports and iron elads. 
At the foot of the bluff are the rude camps of the 
soldiers. Strewing the hillside are cannon shot, 
fragments of shell, bursted or dismounted guns, and 
the remains of blown-up magazines which had been 
plated over with railroad iron. Even the monu- 
ments of the town cemetery have been shattered by 
missiles, with two or three graves dug out by solid 
shot — skeletons, coffins and all. The sun glows as 
if in the tropics, and, in the distance, all we view is 
robed in livid green. The woods around are in ut- 
most splendor — in foliage of deepest dye. Like 
another Egypt, Louisiana lies 4n the midst of its 
waters' — a land of fertility — of corn, oranges, 
sugar cane, cotton, rice and tobacco — a land of 
flowers, fanned by breezes from the Gulf, or from 
the tropics — a land of prodigious richness, over- 
hung by the double pall of human slavery and civil 
war. At twelve o 'clock last night the drums beat an 
alarm. Our regiment and another one hurried to the 
picket line, and performed grand-guard duty till 
morning. Eifle pits are now being constructed 
around the rear of the town by the First Mississippi 
Infantry, which is composed of escaped slaves com- 
manded by white officers promoted from veteran 
regiments. Thousands of fugitive slaves of both 



sexes have poured into Grand Gulf. For the first 
time without a master, and herded like animals in a 
long ravine, their demoralization is deplorable. 
Vice is rampant. ' ' 

On May 16th I was one of a party of forty de- 
tailed to guard a small wagon train on a foraging 
expedition. Our course lay through a wild and ro- 
mantic region. The highway was walled on either 
side by abrupt hills covered by trees in richest robes 
of green. Vines hid the trunks of trees; tall grass 
grew till it drooped and lay on the ground ; thickets 
were impassable because of density. The birds, 
blossoms, flowers, and the aroma of southern Spring 
aroused admiration. The road at times led along 
the steep sides of hills, and when we reached a sum- 
mit, the view of fields, woods, gli'stening bayous, and 
wide, baronial plantations, almost banished thoughts 
of war. The odors of the pear, the orange, and the 
nectarine, floating from blossoming orchards, filled 
the breeze with perfume. Everywhere was fruit, 
foliage, crag, wood, field and vine." After march- 
ing five miles we came to a big plantation and loaded 
our wagons with corn. No tedious formalities at- 
tended the transaction. No money passed, no re- 
ceipt was given. The owner lost his corn because 
there were forty of us and only one of him. Not a 
guerrilla came up to protest against **the good old 
rule, the simple plan, ' ' or fire a shot from copse or 
jungle. The slaves treated us with lavish hospital- 
ity, offering us milk, corn-bread, honey, preserved 



fruits, and other foods that seemed to us luxurious. 
We needed this increase of rations, for each day our 
stinted fare grew more slender. These black people 
lived in great abundance as regarded food, and the 
quality was far better than many northern white 
people enjoy to-day, but their clothing was utterly 
worn out. The attire of some of them was unworthy 
of human beings, but in spite of ragged garments 
and rawhide shoes, most of them were fat, jolly, and 
apparently without a care on any subject. Their 
cabins appeared cosy, clean, and homelike. Not one 
of them could read, but they thoroughly understood 
that the war deeply involved their future fate. Their 
religious instruction'' had been mainly confined to 
sermons on such texts as these: ''And God cursed 
Ham,'' ''servants obey your masters," etc., etc. By 
the terms of the Emancipation Proclamation every 
slave was now free, but the proclamation had little 
force outside of our military lines. The male slaves 
of the region we were in all had muskets and ammu- 
nition, which they had picked up on adjacent battle 
fields. On this plantation I conversed with hand- 
some young female slaves that were so nearly Cau- 
casian that they had red cheeks and blue eyes. They 
were the children of their owner, undoubtedly, and 
variously called themselves Creoles, quadroons, and 
octoroons — a comment on the "divine institution" 
of Slavery — that "sum of all villainies". I thought 
of the conflagrations along Lake St. J oseph, and of 
the Biblical warning : " I will repay, saith the Lord. ' ' 


The more intelligent of these girls were gloomy and 
unhappy. They had little to live for. Without un- 
toward incident we returned to our camps on the 

In the middle of the night of May 19th the rattle 
of drums awoke us. ^^Fall in for Vicksburg'^, was 
the startling cry. Cheers rang among the battle-rent 
hills of Grrand Gulf, and floated far over woods and 
waters. By the light of the stars the Iowa Brigade 
embarked on steamers, and moved up that broad 
and perilous flood. The dark shores teemed with 
possible dangers. The shots of a single fieldpiece 
might wreck the whole fleet and drown the expedi- 
tion. Mines or torpedoes might underlie the tide, or 
some newly invented implement of war be waiting 
for experiment. We little appreciated the dangers 
of that campaign. Few or none of us thought of 
them. Huddled and crowded together, to a degree 
intolerable, we found that sleep was impossible. The 
steamers plodded along cautiously, keeping the mid- 
dle of the river, and making only about three miles 
an hour. By sunrise we had got only half way to 
Warrenton. The bands played gayly and the sol- 
diers cheered. The booming of cannon ahead sound- 
ed incessantly. The forenoon wore tediously away. 
At noon, from the upper deck, we could see the 
deserted Confederate forts at Warrenton. Several 
gunboats came down to convoy us, and in so doing 
found a masked battery in the woods below Warren- 
ton, and shelled it from position. We had been 



moving steadily toward it. Wliile this artillery- 
fight was in progress, our transports hurried over to 
the Louisiana shore, and all the troops disembarked. 
At the end of several hours we went aboard again, 
and the fleet slowly steamed up in the direction of 
the Vicksburg canal. 

It was late in the afternoon, and few of us forget 
the first view we had of Vicksburg. Its spires glit- 
tered, and for miles its warlike hills shone in the 
blaze of the western sun; high in air could be seen 
the bursting of innumerable shells ; white circlets of 
smoke floated above the fated city, and then dis- 
appeared; the forts and fleets, in furious combat, 
exchanged missiles that hissed and screamed through 
the air; the quick flash of artillery on the lofty 
heights resembled the lightning's flash; clouds of 
dust arose a hundred feet high as some tremendous 
and well directed explosive struck the broad front of 
a fort ; huge guns could be seen shining behind works 
that were suddenly rent; answering missiles would 
strike near the black gunboats ; and slender, shining 
jets of water would dart straight up in the air, and 
fall back in showers of spray ; like uneasy monsters 
the ironclads kept in constant motion, firing from 
one side and then swinging slowly around, and firing 
from the other, and moving restlessly up and down 
stream, never keeping still a moment ; white clouds 
of smoke floated off from hotly engaged batteries; 
the booming of a thousand guns, softened by the dis- 



tance, was musical and grand, and past that magnifi- 
cent and indescribable panorama of war, the great 
river flowed as tranquilly on as though pouring its 
smooth tides through the heart of a wilderness. 

Clint Parkhubst 

The Lake of the Taensa 

How often it happens that incidents in history — 
though they may be recorded in detail and with 
great authenticity by men of the time — leave no 
trace upon the scene of their enactment. New gen- 
erations live upon the spot in utter ignorance of the 
early happenings, and often the record itself — 
hidden away in old documents — is almost lost to 
the knowledge of man. 

There was a small, crescent-shaped lake a few 
miles from the Mississippi River on whose banks 
two and a half centuries ago lived the Taensa In- 
dians. Their buildings and their mode of life moved 
Tonty — the Man with the Iron Hand — to deep 
astonishment when he first visited them in 1682 ; and 
Iberville, coming up from the mouth of the river in 
the spring of 1700, spent several days at the village 
and records in his journal a series of events on the 
shores of the lake that are among the most weirdly 
dramatic in all the annals of Indian life. 

With this in mind it is with great interest that one 
reads in Mr. Parkhurst's article in the preceding 
pages on Vicksburg these descriptive lines : 

On the following day our course lay away from the 
Mississippi, and we marched for fifteen miles along Lake 
St. Joseph, the opposite side of which was green with 
vernal woods that rose from the edge of the waters. The 




lake was a lovely sylvan-flood, and around its fertile shores 
had been one of the garden spots of Louisiana. Even as 
we gazed the country to the rear was one vast field of 
sugar cane and Indian com, which in the distance re- 
sembled the green waves of the sea. Only the day before, 
expensive homes, sugar mills, and cotton plants of great 
cost looked out upon the placid lake in proud serenity. 
Now, where we marched, were smouldering ruins, and for 
miles ahead we could see smoke and flames wrapping roofs 
and walls that towered high. 

Little did Mr. Parkhurst and the men of the Six- 
teenth Iowa Infantry realize that they were march- 
ing over historic ground. But it so happened that 
Lake St. Joseph was the identical lake on whose 
banks the Taensa Indians had lived and the smoke 
and flames that now wrapped the buildings on the 
shores were only a modern counterpart of the scenes 
of a wild night of destruction in the days of King 
Louis the Fourteenth and his colonial ventures. The 
story of the Lake of the Taensa is preserved in the 
ancient journals and reports of Tonty and Father 
Membre, of La Harpe, and Penicaut, and Montigny, 
and Iberville ; and it seems well worth retelling. 

In the latter part of March, 1682, La Salle was 
descending the Mississippi on his memorable trip to 
the sea. The banks of the river were drowned by 
the spring floods and fogs hung often upon the wa- 
ter. They had paddled far south of the farthest 
explorations of Marquette and Jolliet, and were now 



journeying in a strange country, but at the Arkansas 
villages they had been given guides to show them 
the way to the villages of the Taensa. Beside a 
swamp on the west shore of the river they halted 
and camped while Tonty and two other Frenchmen 
with the Arkansas guides, pushing through the 
swamps to the lake, paddled across to a village on 
the west shore. 

Introduced by the Arkansas guides they were 
given a most friendly reception, and found the vil- 
lage one of absorbing interest. The buildings were 
like none that Tonty had seen in all his wanderings. 
The first one into which they were ushered was the 
lodge of the chief. It was forty feet square, with 
thick walls made of sun dried mud rising to a height 
of ten or twelve feet and surmounted by a dome-like 
roof of matted cane. Inside they found themselves 
in a single large room in whose center a torch of 
dried canes was burning. There were no windows 
but the light of the torch fell upon gleaming shields 
of burnished copper and Indian paintings which 
adorned the walls. 

The chief sat upon a couch with his three wives 
beside him, and opposite him were sixty old men 
dressed in white robes made from the bark of the 
mulberry tree. To do him honor the old men, stand- 
ing with their hands upon their heads, burst out in 
unison with the cry * * Ho-ho-ho-ho ' He spoke to 
them and they seated themselves. A man of great 
dignity was this chief. He was dressed, like the old 



men, in a fine white robe, and a dozen pearls as big 
as peas bung from bis ears. Unusual bonors were 
paid to bim. He commanded and was obeyed like a 
royal potentate. Slaves waited upon bim, and be 
ate and drank from individual disbes made of well 
glazed eartbenware. 

As Tonty sat upon bis cane mat in tbe lodge, a 
little Indian cbild started to pass between tbe flaring 
torcb and tbe cbief, wbereupon bis motber seized 
bim bastily and made bim walk around tbe torcb. 
Sucb was tbe respect paid to tbe living cbief, and 
wben a cbief died it was tbe custom of tbe Taensa 
to kill a number of bis followers in order tbat tbey 
migbt accompany and serve bim in tbe next world. 

Across from tbe lodge of tbe cbief was tbe sacred 
temple, a similar structure but witb an enclosing 
wall of mud surrounding it. Into tbis mud wall were 
fixed spikes upon wbicb were placed tbe beads of 
tbeir enemies, wbicb tbey sacrificed to tbe sun. Over 
tbe roof of tbe temple were tbree carved eagles 
facing toward tbe rising sun. Tbe inside of tbe 
temple was somewbat bare, but in tbe midst of tbe 
room was an altar at tbe foot of wbicb were placed 
on end tbree logs of wood, and bere was kept a 
sacred and perpetual fire attended by two old men 
wbo guarded it day and nigbt. In tbis boly temple 
also were preserved tbe bones of departed cbiefs. 

Wben Tonty told tbe cbief of bis own wbite leader 
encamped beside tbe Mississippi, tbe Taensa cbief 
decided to pay bim tbe courtesy of a visit, and tbe 



next day with high pomp he set out in a pirogue to 
tjie camp of La Salle, accompanied by many canoes 
loaded with provisions of which the French were in 
great need. He drew near the camp to the sound of 
the tambour and the music of his women. A fine 
robe of beautiful white cloth adorned his person and 
he was preceded by six men who swept with their 
hands the ground over which he was to pass and 
spread out a cane mat for him to sit upon. Two 
men with fans of white feathers accompanied him, 
either to drive away the evil spirits or to prevent 
the gnats from biting; and a third bore plaques of 
highly polished copper. Gifts were exchanged by 
the two chiefs and then the Taensa, grave and digni- 
fied to the last, withdrew in state to his village upon 
the lake. 

La Salle and Tonty and their adventurous com- 
pany continued their journey to the sea and took 
possession of all the land on behalf of King Louis of 
France. In the years that followed Tonty made 
several visits to his new acquaintances on the lake. 
In 1686, when he went to the mouth of the river to 
look for La Salle, he stopped to see them and on the 
shores of the crescent-shaped lake they sang the 
calumet to him. Again when he made his valiant 
expedition to the southwest to try and rescue the 
ill fated survivors of his murdered leader, he turned 
west from the Mississippi at their village. 

Many years rolled by and missionaries from the 
north began to push down into the lower Mississippi. 


Father Montigny came to make his home at the 
Taensa village. About the same time Iberville and 
Bienville came in ships to the Gulf of Mexico and — 
more fortunate than La Salle — succeeded in finding 
the mouth of the great river. And Tonty, still hold- 
ing sway in the fur trading posts of the upper valley, 
came down the river to meet and greet his country- 
men on the shores of the Gulf. 

They talked over the situation in the valley and 
Iberville determined to visit the tribes west of the 
Mississippi, leaving the river at the Taensa village. 
So in the spring of the year 1700, setting out with 
several of Tonty 's men for guides, he came on the 
morning of March 14th to the border of the Lake of 
the Taensa. Signal shots from the guns brought 
four Indians in whose canoes they embarked to cross 
the lake. About noon they reached the village where 
they found Father Montigny and two other French- 
men happy to greet them. 

The village was much the same as when Tonty had 
first found it. The old men in white robes, and the 
cane-roofed lodge of the chief, the imposing temple, 
the sacred fire and the two men who guarded it, were 
there as of old. But where was that dignified and 
mighty ruler, the chief himself? Montigny could 
tell, and the Frenchmen who had been with him in 
the village. They did not forget the day that the 
last chief had died. 

Among all the customs of the Taensa tribe per- 
haps none was so firmly established as that which 



provided an escort for the chief when he ended his 
earthly career. He who had received their constant 
and devoted at,tention while he was alive should not 
be allowed to go alone to find his way to the great 
beyond. So when the last chief had died they began 
to make preparations to kill a number of his follow- 
ers that they might accompany him. But they killed 
no one this time for Father Montigny had come to 
live in their village and he protested, with horror in 
his face, against such a sacrifice. In spite of the 
customs of the tribe and the insistence of the dis- 
appointed medicine man the long robed French 
priest had his way and for once at least in the his- 
tory of the Taensa village a chief went alone and 
unaided to the far country of the dead. And to this 
day of the coming of Iberville, the old medicine man 
had nursed his resentment over the desertion of the 
ancient faith. 

On the night of the 16th the rain came down in 
torrents upon the cane domes of the village lodges 
and ran down the streets toward the lake. With the 
night it did not stop but thunder deep and terrible 
roared overhead and lightning played in the dark 
heavens. Suddenly came a terrific crash that woke 
every Indian and white visitor in the village. As if 
in answer a flame leaped up from the roof of the 
sacred temple. Out from every lodge came fright- 
ened Indians to gather before the doomed building 
of their faith. 

The cane roof burned like tinder and on the outer 


wall the skulls of their enemies must have seemed 
weird and taunting in the glare of the flames. Full 
of terror and tumult the crowd of savages swarmed 
about the scene, tearing their hair and raising their 
arms to heaven as they invoked the spirit to extin- 
guish the flame. They cried aloud above the crack- 
ling of the fire, then they gathered handfuls of earth 
and rubbed on their naked bodies and faces. 

Presently they saw the wild figure of an old man 
gesticulating and heard him calling above the tu- 

Women, bring your children to offer to the Spirit 
as a sacrifice to appease his wrath." 

It was the old medicine man who had sulked since 
the last chief had died. Now, he said, was their 
punishment come for the Spirit was angered that 
no man or woman of the Taensa had gone the dark 
and lonely way with the chief when he had passed 
out of their village. Now they must appease him, 
and again he cried out to them to bring him their 

The flames licked the sacred building like a hideous 
spirit and the carved eagles from their high perch 
looking out over the lake tumbled down into the fiery 
ruin. Indian women in a frenzy came running up 
with their babies and handed them over to the medi- 
cine man. Five of them he took and tossed into the 
glowing fire before the white men rushing up could 
stop the terrible sacrifice. But the fire still raged 



and utterly consumed the temple and the altar and 
all the sacred possessions. 

The tragic night gave way at last to a wet and 
dreary day, but in the village of the Taensa excite- 
ment still reigned. The five mothers who had sacri- 
ficed their children were taken in great honor to the 
lodge of the one who was to be the new chief. There 
they were showered with praise and clothed in white 
robes. A huge feather was stuck in the hair of each 
one and they were seated on mats beside the medi- 
cine man at the entrance of the chief's lodge which 
was now to serve as a temple. All day long they sat 
in this post of honor and at night they retired into 
the lodge to sing weird songs, taking up their posts 
by the door again when morning came. 

Each day, toward sunset, a curious ceremony was 
carried out. Three young Indian men gathered bun- 
dles of dry wood and piled them in the open space 
between the burned temple and the new chief's lodge. 
Then an old man who guarded the sacred fire came 
with a torch and lighted the fagots. As he touched 
the flame to the wood the medicine man who had been 
waiting observantly in the door of the chief's lodge 
walked slowly out followed by the five heroic women. 
In his left hand he held a pillow of feathers covered 
with leather and he beat upon it with a stick which 
he held in his right as if to beat time to the chant 
which they sang as they advanced. 

Three times the old man and the women, singing 
lustily, circled about the fagots, then they threw 


themselves upon t,he burning wood and with great 
handfuls of wet moss put out the flames. This done 
the women went to the lake to bathe, returning 
finally to take up their chants in the lodge of the new 

After a few days Iberville and his men departed. 
Fatjier Montigny, expecting a missionary from Can- 
ada to replace him, moved on to the villages of the 
Natchez. The missionary from Canada, however, 
did not come, and in 1706, harassed by the Yazoo 
and the Chickasaw, the Taensa gave up their village 
home on the lake and moved south to the region of 
Mobile Bay. The sacred fire died out, the mud walls 
and cane roofs vanished, and the canoes of the white 
men no longer slipped past the lazy alligators in the 
Lake of the Taensa. 

A century and a half went by on slow wings. 
White settlers had come into the region and found 
its soil fertile. Sugar plantations and fine homes 
had appeared beside the shore, and the lake had 
come to be known as Lake St. Joseph. Then came 
the Civil War. The savage Indian tribes were gone, 
but warring white men passed here and there and 
often left a trail of fire. Such a trail had marked 
the shores of Lake St. Joseph in May of 1863. Fol- 
lowing this path of destruction came the Sixteenth 
Iowa Infantry marching to the river landing to join 
the armies that were investing Vicksburg. 

For fifteen miles they passed along the edge of 



the lake amidst smoldering ruins and flame wrapped 
roofs. But though the feet of Clinton Parkhurst 
and his comrades may have trod the very site of the 
ancient temple of the Taensa Indians, there came to 
them no visions of the dignified chief dressed in a 
robe of white mulberry bark, nor did the flames of 
the modern devastation bring to their minds any 
picture of that wild night when these same shores of 
the crescent-shaped lake were the scene of a blazing 
shrine and the fanatical burning of human sacrifices. 

John C. Pabish 

Comment by the Editor 


Columbusing as a general practice has become al- 
most obsolete. To tbe explorers of 1492 the biggest 
part of the world lay undiscovered ; and they merely 
led the way. In the fifteen hundreds hardy seamen 
like Drake or Frobisher could make wonderful finds 
simply by sailing around in boats. De Soto and 
Coronado, not content with cruising, took to the in- 
terior and marched tremendous distances with pro- 
portionately small results. 

During the next century adventuring in the new 
world was quite the vogue. And in the seventeen 
hundreds monarchs whose intrepid men had ram- 
bled over the new regions began to contest in earnest 
for these spots. They sent out more adventurers 
and followed them with armies ; and as the century 
drew to a close nations came to a rough division of 
the spoils and began to ask what their possessions 
were Hke. 

More chance for the explorers. They set out upon 
the westering waters in search of trade routes. They 
moved in canvas topped Ninas and Pintas and Santa 
Marias across the interminable plains in search of 
gold. More prosaic settlers came and filled in the 
intervening spaces. 




As the Twentieth Century came in the people of 
the world began to see the limits of discovery. 
Scarcely any region remained except a few islands 
in the South Seas, and the North and South Poles. 
Now the poles have been found and the islands of 
the ocean explored, and the dark skinned Eskimos 
and the dusky southern belles have somewhat lost 
their novelty. The world has been discovered, and 
adventuring Columbuses are faced with unemploy- 


Nevertheless, there is hope. Horizontal explora- 
tion is waning but the vertical quest is hardly begun. 
The explorers have turned from the ships of the sea 
and the plain, and interested themselves in the pick 
and shovel. They have taken to intensive discovery. 
Under the sands of Egypt, beneath the tangle of 
tropical foliage in Central America, buried on the 
hill tops of the Andes, or underlying the plains of 
the Mississippi Valley are the new lands they hunt. 

The discoveries are astonishing. In Egypt within 
a very few years buried cities have given up enor- 
mous quantities of papyrus manuscripts — among 
them a Biblical manuscript a century earlier than 
any before known. The clearing away of under- 
brush and soil reveals the wonderful city of Machu 
Picchu in Peru and the ancient pyramids and writ- 
ings of Central America. 


Under the soil of the North American Continent 
lie the remains of ancient man and the signs of his 
culture. And scattered and hidden in the old wal- 
lows and tar beds are the still more ancient bones of 
the mammoth and the sabre-toothed tiger. But a Co- 
lumbus nowadays must be more than a hardy ad- 
venturer. Archaeology has become a fine art and 
the tar beds, and burial mounds, and effigies, and 
cliff dwellings must be explored by those who know 
how, or the results are worse than useless. In sev- 
eral of the States archaeological surveys have been 
begun under scientific auspices. Iowa offers an ex- 
ceptional field for intensive exploration. 


It seems a far cry from prehistoric relics to the 
era of railroad building. But even that recent era 
is full of haze and oblivion. Back in the early days 
of railroad promotion and construction, companies 
were started which have long since been forgotten. 
The stakes on old lines of survey have rotted away, 
the long straight embankments of abandoned work 
are overgrown with weeds or perhaps have been 
obliterated. And even the beginnings of surviving 
companies are indistinct in memory and record. 

The publication of some railroad material in the 
January number of the Palimpsest has brought in- 
teresting responses. We have since had the pleasure 
of looking over a Corporate History of the Chicago^ 



Burlington S Quincy Railroad Company prepared 
by W. W. Baldwin, vice president. It is a large 
volume of nearly five hundred pages and it is 
notable, among other things, for the care with which 
the salient facts have been gathered and presented, 
together with separate maps, for each one of the 204 
companies which had a part in building the network 
known as the Burlington System. 

We understand that the Chicago, Eock Island & 
Pacific Eailroad Company is preparing a history of 
that organization in connection with the conamemo- 
ration of the seventieth anniversary of the initial 
operation of trains in 1852. It was this line from 
Chicago to Eock Island which the old M. & M. Eail- 
road Company was organized to extend. A refer- 
ence by Mr. Usher in one of the letters printed in 
January to the effect that Mr. Farnam, the road- 
builder of the Eock Island road in Illinois, finished 
his contract a year ahead of time and was running it 
on his own hook for that year, brings this comment 
from a son, Mr. Henry W. Famam of New Haven, 
Connecticut, in a letter to Mr. A. N. Harbert of 
Iowa City: 

It is true that the firm of Sheffield and Farnam, in which 
Mr. Joseph E. Sheffield of New Haven was associated with 
my father, contracted to build the Chicago & Rock Island 
Railroad and finished it about eighteen months in advance 
of the time specified and I believe that the contractors had 
the right to run the road for their own profit during that 
time. But, in point of fact, they did not. The first train 


passed over the road from Chicago to Rock Island February 
22nd and on July 10th the road was formally turned over 
to the company. Mr. Usher's letter was written May 8th so 
that I presume my father was actually running the road at 
the time, but he ran it for less than five months and not for 
a year. 


The coming of the railroad to the east bank of the 
river in 1854 turned men's thoughts to bridge build- 
ing, but the first locomotive to cross the Mississippi 
did not wait for the completion of the bridge. It 
came over on a flatboat and was christened the 
Antoine Le Claire. In the article on the M. & M. 
Eailroad in the January Palimpsest this event is 
given as occurring in July, 1854, in accordance with 
various printed statements to that effect. However, 
this antedates the fact by a year as we have since 
been able to determine. Conflicting statements sent 
us back to contemporary sources. Newspapers are 
not always the most authentic records, but in fixing 
the chronology of events happening at the time and 
not then subject to controversy they are apt to be 
more accurate than later secondary accounts. The 
Keokuk Gate City for July 25, 1855, prints an item 
chronicling the arrival in Davenport of the Antoine 
Le Claire, and comments on this coming of the first 
locomotive to Iowa. 

We would give inucli to know the later history of 
the veteran engine. The first printing press to run 



off a newspaper in Iowa stands in state in the mii- 
senm of a neighboring Commonwealth, which it also 
served. But perhaps the locomotive, heing of a more 
adventnrons spirit and a more dangerous occupation 
in life, came to a violent end, and disintegrated into 
unhistoric scrap iron. 

J. C. P. 

" -^^^—-WiLLABD Barrows 


\^it tor^Dubugue's Gra^^ 



.Published MonthlyAt lowACmr By 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in April 1922 No. 4 


The Wedding of James Harlan 

A man's marriage is without doubt a most impor- 
tant incident in his career. Yet the biographer of 
James Harlan, for sixteen years United States Sena- 
tor from Iowa, notes the event in this brief state- 

Early in November .... he drove to Greencastle ; 
and there, on Sunday, November 9, 1845, James Harlan 
and Ann Eliza Peck were united in marriage. President 
Simpson officiating at the ceremony.^ 

It should be stated, in explanation of this brevity, 
that the first draft of the biography was prepared in 
anticipation of a two-volume work ; but for the sake 
of uniformity the editor of the series reluctantly 
concluded to publish the work in a single volume; 
thus compelling the elimination of many interesting 
bits of description. The simplicity of the Harlan- 
Peck wedding, in contrast with the elaborate wed- 

1 Johnson Brigham *s J ames Harlan in the Iowa Biographical Series 
published by the State Historical Society of Iowa. 




ding festivities and ceremonies of our time, deserves 
to be made a matter of record. The following ac- 
count, hitherto unpublished, is taken from the first 
draft of the biographical manuscript. 

Among the young ladies mentioned in James 
Harlan's diary for the college year 1844-5, we find 
most frequent mention of ^^Ann Eliza Peck" — des- 
tined to be the devoted wife and helpmate of the 
future statesman and the loving mother of his 

In this connection the following entry in Harlan's 
autobiographical manuscript is interesting, not only 
as showing the success of the young lover's suit, but 
also as revealing the simple, honest directness of the 
man's nature. 

Visited Miss Peck in the evening; and had a long confi- 
dential talk with her, propounding numerous questions 
about herself and her views and purposes and preferences, 
inte [n] ded by me to elicit information as to her sentiments 
towards me, and freedom from committals to any one else. 
Her answers were frank, and as I desired and hoped; and 
left no doubt on my mind as to her respect for my character 
and cordial friendship for me personally. At the close of 
this conversation, although no offer of myself was made or 
intended on my part, or apprehended by her, yet somehow 
I felt that our relations had changed to more than cordial 

Soon following this interview is recorded the im- 


portant fact that then and there he ^ * came to a def- 
inite understanding with'' Miss Peck as to what 
their relations should become at sometime in the 

Either the instinct of the educator was strong in 
him or the desire to measure up to his attainments 
was strong in her, for an entry of June 16th records 
his engagement to hear Miss Peck recite two or 
three times a week in mental science and other ad- 
vanced studies not included in the course pursued in 
Mrs. Larabee's school for young ladies. He says: 
gave her an examination on her preceding lessons 
in Upham's mental philosophy; and formed a very 
flattering opinion of her capacity. ' ' 

In the evening, following the Commencement exer- 
cises. President Simpson gave a reception to the 
graduating class, but Harlan, weary and yearning 
for rest, started for home immediately after dinner. 
Finding his saddle-horse had been loaned for the 
day, he returned to Grreencastle and in due time ap- 
peared at the reception, much to the surprise of his 
friends. Mrs. Simpson, knowing of his engagement, 
rallied him on the impropriety of coming alone and 
ordered him to produce Miss Peck. The order was 
promptly obeyed. 

Following his graduation, Harlan returned home 
and was soon at work in the fields assisting his fa- 
ther, plowing fallow land and putting in a wheat 

Early in September, young Harlan returned to 


Greencastle, by agreement, to plan with his prospec- 
tive wife for the immediate future. His frank and 
manly report of the interview is noteworthy. He 
explained to her his slender resources, having no 
trade, no capital, no profession. He about decided 
to become a farmer, a vocation which he fully 
understood and liked.'' The question presented it- 
self ; Was she willing to share with him such a life 
in an obscure country neighborhood? She responded 
with equal frankness that she liked the country ; that 
when she engaged herself to him she expected that 
he would make his own choice of a calling, and would 
cheerfully abide by his judgment. When he asked 
her to fix a date for her marriage, she replied she 
thought she could ^'get ready'' in a year. He 
insisted that a week or ten days should be ample, 
arguing that **long engagements were proverbially 
unlucky." The lovers compromised on the 9th of 
the next November as the wedding day. 

He then returned to his work on the farm and 
later engaged to teach a three-months school on 
Little Eaccoon Creek, near the home of his brother- 
in-law, David Eeeder, with whom he made his home. 

On the evening of November 7, he drove t6 his 
father's; and the next morning, with his two sisters, 
Lydia and Jane, and his prospective brother-in-law 
Snow, drove to the home of Dr. Knight, his future 
wife's guardian, in Pleasant Garden, where the 
party dined. Mr. Snow on his behalf interviewed the 
clerk of the court, maldng the necessary preliminary 


arrangements for the marriage ceremony the next 
day. The party was generously entertained at Dr. 
Knight's, and on the following morning all drove to 
Hammond 's Hotel, in Greencastle. Here, they were 
honored by a call from President Matthew Simpson. 

At eleven o'clock Sunday morning, November 9, 
1845, the party walked to the Methodist church where 
Dr. Simpson delivered **an excellent sermon'' and at 
its close announced that he had been requested to 
pronounce a marriage ceremony, asking the parties 
to come forward to the altar. The two were pro- 
nounced husband and wife, and after the benediction 
and the congratulations of their friends, the party 
walked back to the hotel. After dinner the newly 
wedded pair drove to Father Harlan's home in the 
woods, and entered upon their life career together. 

Johnson Beigham 

In the Neutral Ground 

[Willard Barrows, a surveyor with a gift for writing, came to 
Davenport in 1837. In 1845 lie published a handbook called Notes on 
Iowa Territory with a Map. In 1859 appeared his valuable History 
of Scott County. The following account is taken from a collection of 
his reminiscences preserved in a volume, now very rare, published by 
William Barrows in 1869 under the title Twelve Nights in the Hunt- 
er's Camp. — The Editor.] 

In 1839 I was employed in the survey of the public 
lands in Iowa, on what was called The Black Hawk 
Purchase. This new acquisition was then being set- 
tled up with great rapidity. 

In 1840 I undertook for government the survey of 
the islands in the Mississippi, between the mouth of 
Eock Eiver and Quincy. It was a work of great 
difficulty and hardship. These islands had been sur- 
veyed several times by other parties, but their work 
was so incorrect that the government rejected it. 
Mine was the last one made. It was commenced 
early in the spring, amid floating ice and high water, 
and in rough weather. It was necessary to extend 
the section lines from the mainland to the islands, 
and then meander the islands. Of course the party 
were compelled to be much in the water, and, as a 
consequence, there was much sickness among them, 
as well as delay in the work. But I completed it that 
season, and in a manner satisfactory to the govern- 



Falling readily into the custom of frontier men, I 
joined a party of seven, in the fall of this year, to go 
on a hunting expedition into the Indian country. 
The outfit consisted of horse and ox teams, with 
tents, blankets, provision, and, in this case, with bar- 
rels, as we intended to take wild honey. It was not 
usual for hunters to go far beyond the settlements at 
that early day; but our company was made up of 
men not only fond of the chase, but anxious to ex- 
plore a region so much talked of, and not unwilling 
to have exciting adventures. 

The company set forth about the first of Septem- 
ber, and, following the dividing ridge between the 
Cedar and the Wabessapinecon Eivers, were some 
seven days in reaching the grounds on which they 
intended to hunt, a tract between the head-waters of 
these two rivers. 

The constant broils between the Sacs and Foxes 
and the Sioux, whose lands adjoined, induced the 
government in 1828 [1830] to cut off a strip of land 
twenty miles wide on each side of the dividing line 
between the tribes, making forty miles of territory 
in width, running from the Mississippi Eiver above 
Prairie du Chien, to the Des Moines, a distance of 
about one hundred and fifty miles. This strip of 
land neither party could use for hunting purposes, 
and was called The Neutral Grounds. 

When the Winnebagoes sold their lands in Wis- 
consin, they were removed to these Neutral Grounds, 
being at peace with the Indians on both sides. The 



Winnebagoes were in possession of these lands at 
the time our party went on this hunt. 

When we arrived near the boundary line of the 
Indians, we encamped, and for many days enjoyed 
the sports of the chase, and took some honey. Here 
we waited till the Indians should start on their jour- 
ney to Prairie du Chien to receive their annuity 
from government, which we knew was to be paid 
about this time. We also knew that their absence 
was the only time when we could hunt and gather 
honey on these Neutral Grounds with any safety. 

We were accordingly ready to remove to the scene 
of operations as soon as the Indians left. We did so 
at the earliest opportunity, and camped on what we 
called Honey Creek, a small stream within the Neu- 
tral Grounds. Not far from the camp was a white 
oak grove, on a rise of land. The trees were large 
and old, and many of them hollow, and on a half mile 
square of this grove we found sixteen bee trees. 
Other game was plenty, and we enjoyed ourselves 
during one of those delightful Indian summers, so 
much admired in the West. 

We felt secure so long as the Winnebagoes were 
away. We had no right on their lands without their 
permission, or that of the Indian agent; and when 
whites were caught hunting or fishing there, their 
property was considered by the Indians as lawful 

We had completed our hunt, having strained the 
honey and put it in casks, jerked the meat, and got it 



ready to pack, and prepared everything for a home- 
ward move, except the trying out of a large quantity 
of beeswax. It was late in the afternoon when some 
of the party, who had been out hunting, came into 
camp and reported Indians in the vicinity. Scouts 
being sent out, several were seen, and one even came 
into camp, and viewed the rich store of meat and 
honey that we had taken. He was grave and severe, 
and refused food, which fact we all understood pain- 
fully well. He left, and we sent a spy to watch him. 
When some distance from camp, he put spurs to his 
horse, and went at full speed across the prairie. 

It was now well understood that the Indians had 
returned from the agency, and that we might expect 
a visit from them about daylight the next morning, 
the time when all tribes are wont to open their at- 
tacks on an enemy. The hunting party put their 
arms in order, and determined on defence, if the 
enemy should not prove to be too numerous. All 
hands were now engaged in packing and loading the 
wagons preparatory to a retreat. The barrels of 
honey were loaded in, the oxen and horses gathered 
and tied near by in the bush, for fear that the inten- 
tions of the party to depart might be discovered by 
some Indian spy. The company had taken eight 
barrels of strained honey, besides much elk and deer 

Waiting for the rising of the moon, and then build- 
ing a large camp fire, we hitched up our teams, and 
placing a rear guard and pilot, we started for home. 
After much trouble and a few miles' travel, we 




struck the trail where we entered, and about daylight 
we passed safely the boundary line. About the same 
time, probably, the Indians were visiting our old 
camping-ground to rob us of our booty. These same 
Indians had robbed trappers and explorers the fall 
preceding, and they were disposed, on all safe occa- 
sions, to appropriate the effects of the white man to 
their own use. But they gave us no difficulty, and 
we arrived home in safety, and well laden with game 
and honey. 

In 1841-2, the public surveys being suspended, I 
turned my attention to a more full exploration of the 
territory that had been cut off from Wisconsin, and 
called Iowa. At this time there had not been any 
maps or sketches of the country lying north of the 
State of Missouri, and between the Mississippi and 
Missouri Rivers.^ Major Lee [Lieutenant Lea], of 
the United States army, had made a tour, with 
dragoons, up the Des Moines, and Nicholat [Nicol- 
let] had traversed the north-west on both sides of 
the Mississippi, by order of Congress, and made 
some outlines and topography of the country. But 
there was nothing reliable, or what could give one a 
tolerable idea of the region between the two rivers. 
The vague and romantic story of the trapper was all 
that the people of the frontier knew of the region. 

These wild adventurers gave the most glowing ac- 
counts of its beautiful groves of timber, its swift- 
flowing rivers, and its broad-rolling prairies, its 
glassy lakes, with pebbled shores, and abundance of 

1 A good map had been published by Colton in 1839.— The Editor. 



fish, and its immense herds of bnffalo, elk, and deer, 
that roamed at will over the delightful wilds. Bnt 
they could give no great landmarks, or inland seas, 
by which the traveller could direct his course. 

At the instance of Governor Chambers, of the then 
new Territory of Iowa, and the solicitation of the 
surveyor general of the North-west, I undertook the 
exploration of the territory, and at my own charges. 
With two men and a proper outfit, I set forth, in the 
autumn of 1841, to sketch the country and make a 
map of the same, as far north as the forty-third de- 
gree, the present southern boundary of Minnesota. 
In this work I was engaged a portion of the time for 
three years, making annual excursions, tracing the 
rivers to their sources, and marking the timber 
lands, living the while mostly on game. 

The Indian title at this time was extinguished to 
only a small part lying along the Mississippi Eiver. 
The rest was inhabited by the Sacs and Foxes, the 
Potawatamies, and the Winnebagoes. In my first 
trip I followed up the ridge between the Cedar and 
the Wabessapinecon Eivers to the boundary line of 
the Neutral Grounds, on which the Winnebagoes re- 
sided. Here I established my headquarters for the 
winter, and built a depot for my supplies. It was 
located on a small creek, in a deep and densely- 
wooded glen, a few miles from the Wabessapinecon, 
and just w^ithin the line between the Indians and the 
whites. This was about the first of September, and 
the chief of the band who lived on this portion of the 



Neutral Grounds, and whose village was only about 
six miles away, liad gone with the most of his braves 
and great men to Prairie du Chien. No communica- 
tion, therefore, could be had with him till his return, 
which would be a month or more. Portions of his 
people were encamped near by, on their fall hunt, 
and came often to my camp. In this band were some 
young men and boys who had attended the Mission 
School at Fort Atkinson, on Turkey Eiver, estab- 
lished and maintained by the government. 

It is a characteristic of the Indian never to speak 
English, even if he can, unless sheer necessity com- 
pels him, or when he is sure his people will not know 
it. It is considered a kind of disgrace, as if he were 
tinctured with civilization, and were apostatizing 
from the dignity of his fathers, and becoming a 
white man. 

I had learned some Winnebago words from the 
Sacs and Foxes, some of whom spoke it, though the 
two languages are quite unlike. As I could not pro- 
ceed across the Indian country till Chas-chun-ka (Big 
Wave) returned, I set my men to hunting and stor- 
ing away provisions for the winter, while I attempt- 
ed to gain a sufficient knowledge of the language to 
enable me to travel intelligently among them. It was 
always necessary for one to remain in camp to pre- 
vent Indian depredations, and to keep the horses 
from straying. This duty I now took on myself, and 
encouraged the Indian boys, who frequently visited 
the camp, to be familiar, giving them presents of 



red cloth and ribbons, bread and pork, of which they 
are very fond, and other trifles of civilization. 

They soon became familiar, answering promptly 
the questions I put them, as to the names of things. 
One day, what were my surprise and delight, when I 
inquired of a sprightly lad, about twelve years of 
age, and who had come into the cabin alone, what he 
called the victuals that were then cooking in the ket- 
tle, to hear him answer in plain, unbroken English, 
'^Why, it is pork and beans, and I shall want some 
bread and potatoes to eat with them when they are 
done. ^ ' His dark, keen eye twinkled with the answer, 
and he burst into a fit of laughter, half hiding his 
face through shame that he knew so much of the 
white man's language. 

He saw my delight at discovering his knowledge, 
and yielded freely to the questions, where, and how, 
and when he obtained the English so perfectly. He 
had been a pupil in the Mission School of the Rev. 
David Lowry for five or six years, and could read as 
well as speak English quite fluently. When I ap- 
plied to him to teach me, nothing could exceed his 
unwillingness, even to interpret. But my close fa- 
miliarity and gentleness, and presents for himself 
and mother, whose lodge was about a mile distant, 
won him over, and he proved of great value, not only 
in teaching me, but in shielding me from dangers 

The return of Chas-chun-ka, about the first of No- 
vember, was speedily heralded through the Indian 



camps, and I was notified by my friendly and faith- 
ful little mission boy, who, by this time, knew all my 
desires and plans. 

The chief was, like the most of his race, vain and 
conceited, pnffed up with self-importance, but sus- 
ceptible of flattery, and fond of presents. He was 
not an hereditary chief, but a Fox by birth, and hav- 
ing joined the Winnebagoes at an early age, he had 
risen to his present position by the force of native 
talent. He was worth some property in horses and 
presents, given him by the agents and officers of the 
government. He had two wives, and was about to 
take a third ; but as the winter was near, and provi- 
sions scarce, he had concluded to wait till spring. 

He was duly notified of my presence in the coun- 
try, and my wish to hold a conference ^mth him at my 
tent whenever his chieftainship would please to sig- 
nify his willingness. Early one morning, a few days 
after his return, a cavalcade was seen coming across 
the prairie towards my camp. In due time, and in 
long Indian file, they drew up around my cabin. I 
remained inside to receive the distinguished guests, 
while his officials motioned to the Indians, as they 
dismounted, to enter the council. 

There were twelve or more under-chiefs and 
braves who accompanied Chas-chun-ka. He entered 
first, bowing and shaking hands with me. This salu- 
tation was repeated by the whole troop. They then 
seated themselves around the cabin, on the ground, 
but their chief on a bench. The appearance of the 


chief was very surprising to me, for I had expected 
to see a profusion of paint and feathers, and 
wampum of costly texture. Instead of that, he was 
clothed in a buffalo overcoat, a stove-pipe hat, and 
wore a pair of green spectacles. His belt was prob- 
ably the gift of a soldier, as it bore the U. S. in front. 
His outfit had all probably been given to him by 
some traders at the fort. 

I addressed him politely as he entered, but I did 
not at first regard him as the chief. On pronouncing 
his name, he bowed, and, as I supposed by his dress 
that he must be a half-breed, and could speak Eng- 
lish, I addressed him in that tongue, but he would 
make no response. Still believing that it was only 
Indian policy and custom not to know English, I 
pressed the point in broken Indian ; but a persistent 
protest of silence in Chas-chun-ka compelled me to 
send for my little teacher and mission boy, Wabessa- 
wawa (White Goose). He came trembling and 
abashed before the sachem and his warriors, and, as 
he passed the chief, the latter patted him on the 
head, and said some approving word, that caused 
the boy to smile. 

The council was opened as usual with the pipe and 
the shaking of hands. Then all were seated again, 
and looked to me to make known my business. I 
arose, and after telling them of my long residence at 
Assinni-Manness [Eock Island], with their friends, 
the Sacs and Foxes, and of my labors for their Great 
Father, the President, in surveying the lands he 



bought of them, I told them I had come to see their 
country by the request of their Father. Then I 
showed them the passport given me by General 
Chambers, and told the chief that I wanted to go 
across his country and make a picture of it for the 

After hearing me and examining my maps and 
sketches taken on the way up, some of which he cor- 
rected — for the Indian is a topographical draughts- 
man by nature — he handed the papers back and 
shook his head. Looking around on his warriors 
with an air of kingly importance, he directed the 
interpreter to tell me that he could not let me go 
over his lands for any such purpose. He said he 
well knew the object of his Great Father in sending 
me there to make a picture of his country ; that if it 
was good for the white he would buy it, but if not the 
Indian could keep it. No, I could not go. After 
many entreaties and presents to induce him to yield, 
I found it of no use, and the council broke up. This 
was a difficulty that I had not anticipated, and all my 
plans seemed liable to fail. 

The next day I visited him with one of my men in 
his lodge at the village. He was affable and polite, 
but rather cool, and when the subject of explorations 
was introduced he became silent and morose. I 
therefore left him, determined to visit Fort Atkinson 
and see the Winnebago agent. 

It had now become late in the season, and there 
was great danger in traversing an unknown country 


at sucIl an inclement season without a guide or trail. 
Moreover, I should be subject to the watchful eye of 
the Indians, and if the chief found I had left, he 
would send his warriors and bring me back. But I 
was not to be baffled in my plans, and give up my 
project without a struggle. I was not afraid of the 
Indian, for I knew that I was regarded as an agent 
of the government, and so no harm must come to me 
in his territory. I would not ask the chief for a 
guide, or even let him know of my intentions of visit- 
ing the agency, as it was on Indian territory, to 
which I had already been refused access. 

I therefore set out early one morning, with one 
man and two horses, across the country one hundred 
and twenty-five miles, for Fort Atkinson, with no 
map or trail, and with the assurance, almost, that I 
should be arrested and brought back by the Indians. 
I knew the course to be about north-west, and expect- 
ing to find trails, or see some Indians, when near 
there, who would direct me to the fort, I entered on 
the journey. At first I avoided the prairie to escape 
the vigilance of the Indians. On the second day out 
a dense fog covered the open country, while it rained 
in torrents. The streams were so swollen that we 
were obliged to swim them with our horses. When 
three days out, and near night, it cleared up, the fog 
rolled off, and it turned cold. We steered for a 
grove in sight, which we reached just at dark, and to 
our surprise found there the ashes of our morning 
camp fire. We had wandered in the fog all day at 
good speed to come back there for the night. 



The next morning we put out again, and after a 
journey of five days more, over wet prairie and 
swollen streams, we reached the fort. The first night 
we were entertained within its walls to our full com- 
fort. The agent then provided for us during the ten 
days that we remained. 

While here I visited the Mission School of Mr. 
Lowry. It contained about sixty scholars of both 
sexes, many of whom had made good advances in 
reading and writing English. There was a farm of 
twelve hundred acres, broken up and fenced, with 
suitable buildings, all belonging to the agency, and 
intended to teach the Indians agriculture and the 
arts of civilized life. But they could not be made to 
work. Government paid for the labor of eight men ; 
but few Indians would go into the fields to work. 

Mr. Lowry gave me a passport to go over the 
lands of the Winnebagoes : and he also wrote a letter 
to Chas-chun-ka, telling him what a great and good 
chief he was, and that he had always been friendly 
to the white man, and that now he must permit me to 
cross his lands whenever I pleased, and that by so 
doing he would not only please him, but his Great 

I returned, and, taking Wabessa-wawa to read the 
letter, I rode over to the lodge of the chief and pre- 
sented him the papers given me by the agent. When 
the letter was read, it flattered his vanity so much 
that he sent for the chiefs and braves, and had the 
same read to them. When it spoke of his greatness 



and goodness lie would look around on Ms men with 
a proud and haughty air, as if to say, Behold your 
chief, and hear what the white man says of him.'* 
His whole being seemed at once changed, and he told 
me that I might go all about over his country, and 
that he would send men with me. 

The next day he came over to see me, and of course 
to get some presents. He wanted me to wait for him 
two weeks or so, when he would go with me. I did 
so, but seeing no preparation by him for such a trip, 
I started without him. My route lay up the Wabessa- 
pinecon to its head and down the Cedar. 

During my absence the Indians, many of them, 
had removed, and among them, greatly to my regret, 
had gone the lodge of my little interpreter, Wabessa- 
wawa. I could get no information which way he had 
gone, only that he left with his people for a hunt. 

After recruiting myself and horses, I again started 
towards the head-waters of the Des Moines. had 
not passed the Neutral Grounds, when one day we 
came on an encampment of Winnebagoes, who 
seemed boisterous and much disposed to plunder, 
pulling the packs from the horses, and demanding 
bread and meat. Their rudeness was observed by 
the old men of the tribe, but they said nothing, till I 
went to one of them, and, addressing him in his own 
tongue, I told him I was the friend of Chas-chun-ka, 
and the agent of the government, and that I had a 
pass from Mr. Lowry, and that they must not allow 
their young braves to do such things. In a moment 



he spoke to the rude fellows, telling them who I was, 
when they left the stores, but with evident reluctance 
and disappointment. On making inquiry for the 
trail that led to an old trading post on the river, four 
or five young Indians stepped forward and offered 
to show me the way. We took their lead, and pur- 
sued it for more than a mile, when, on looking back, 
I saw an Indian boy coming up in great haste. The 
party came to a halt, and the boy came up, wrapped 
in his blanket, his face half averted, but with his 
keen eye fixed on me. 

Speaking in a low tone, he said, **You are on the 
wrong trail. The Indians who sent you here are bad 
Indians, and they mean to follow and rob you.'' I 
pulled the blanket aside, and discovered the pretty 
face of my Wabessa-wawa. He seemed in much 
excitement and haste. Requesting me to follow him, 
he struck off through the woods at a rapid rate, and 
where there was no path ; and after travelling about 
a mile, he came out into a beaten track. ^^This,'' 
said he, *4s your path. I heard you ask for the 
trail to the old trading-house, and saw those bad 
Indians put you in the wrong way, and I came to tell 
you. ' ' He would not allow me time to inquire where 
his lodge was, or where I should see him, if ever, 
again, nor hardly to untie the pack and give him 
some biscuit and pork. I did, however, adding some 
pieces of silver coin. Shaking the little fellow by 
the hand, I let go of him, and in a few moments he 
was lost in the thick wood, on his way to the lodge. 


Here, thought I, are the fruits of Christianity and 
the germs of civilization in a savage. This boy had 
been taught at the Mission School, and, aside from 
seeing his friend robbed, he knew the wickedness of 
the deed, and his duty to prevent it. He had the 
native cunning of his race, and knew how to avoid 
detection for thwarting the designs of bad men. 

We returned in safety from this trip, and once 
more recruited at our supply camp, or headquarters. 
Then we made a short excursion towards the Mis- 
souri Eiver, but snows had become so deep that trav- 
elling was almost impossible. We were three weeks 
in snow from two to four feet deep. Our usual 
method in camping was to find a large log, tramp 
down the snow beside it, pitch the tent, spread down 
the green hides of elk or deer, and build a good fire. 
No dampness could penetrate these fresh skins, and 
so, wrapping ourselves in blankets and buffaloes, we 
slept soundly. 

An Indian trader had come to the same place 
where we had made our depot, late in the fall, and, 
among other things, he, as usual, brought whiskey. 
He had built himself a small trading-house near to 
us. This served to gather about him large numbers 
of Indians, and though he managed to deal out his 
poison with some degree of caution, as a thing for- 
bidden by the government, yet at times a few drunk- 
en Indians would be found about the camp. On such 
occasions I never allowed them in my camp. 

On my return from the Missouri Eiver trip I 



found the trading-house closed, the Indians drunk, 
the barrel of whiskey, all that was left of the trader 's 
stock, moved up to my camp, and the clerk there in 
attendance on it. The trader himself had gone to 
Dubuque for goods, and left his clerk, a cowardly 
and effeminate fellow, in charge. The Indians de- 
manded liquor, and to prevent their getting it, he 
had rolled the barrel to my premises, and left it with 
my tent-keeper. 

It was late in the night when I arrived, and being 
indignant that it had been placed in my depot, I 
ordered it out, and it was set outside. But it was 
too late in the stage of affairs to quell the disturb- 
ance. The Indians were already maddened by the 
beginnings of intoxication, and no persuasion or re- 
fusal of the trader 's clerk could quiet their demands. 
I had peremptorily forbidden the sale of any more 
to them, and the clerk, now finding the trading-house 
too warm a place for him, closed the doors and took 
refuge in my tent. 

The Indians had threatened to scalp him if he did 
not produce the liquor, and followed him to my quar- 
ters. Here they found the barrel of whiskey outside 
the door. I spoke to them with firmness, refusing 
them any more. A portion of them, Chas-chun-ka, 
and some of his braves, had come inside, and sat in 
silence around my fire. Some of the chiefs, who 
knew me well, had come to me in behalf of the whole, 
pleading for more whiskey. I firmly refused. Being 
weary from the long and hard march of the day, I 


lay down for some rest, ordering my men to keep 
their arms in readiness, while I placed the heavy 
hickory fire-poker near me. The Indians were with- 
out arms, having deposited them, as usual, with their 
knives and tomahawks, on the top of the trading- 
house, and the most of them were too drunk to get 
them again readily, even if the sober ones would let 
them. As I lay on my lounge, a large crowd was 
outside, and ten or fifteen inside. 

An old squaw, in order to bring me to terms, had 
commenced pounding on the head of the whiskey 
barrel, as it stood near my camp. Big Wave came 
to me in great pretended alarm, and told me that 
unless I permitted them to have whiskey, he feared 
they would break in the head of the barrel, and then 
all would be drunk, and great trouble would follow. 
I told him that if he allowed that liquor to be broken 
open I would kill every Indian within my reach. In 
the mean time the old squaw kept up her drumming, 
and as the chief himself disappeared from the door- 
way, the head of the cask went in ! 

In a moment I sprang from my bed, caught my 
walnut poker, a stick five feet long, and cried out to 
my men, in the Indian language, to kill all in the 
cabin first. With one stroke I split the table to 
pieces with a great noise, it being made of the lids 
of a dry goods box, and continued striking right and 
left, whooping loud and sharp to my men to kill the 
chiefs first. The cabin was soon emptied of Indians, 
and, with those outside, they all took to their heels 



like a herd of deer. I had the barrel of whiskey 
moved inside again, the door barricaded, and quiet 
restored. Of course no Indian was hurt by us, as my 
men were under secret instructions to injure no one. 
The next morning a few came back, and were shown 
a large place in the snow where the whiskey was 
deposited, with the barrel bottom up over it. The 
liquor was confiscated and gone, only an odor re- 
maining in the snow. g 

An Indian cannot fight with a club, but to him it is 
a most formidable weapon in the hands of an angry 
white man. Take from them the gun, tomahawk, and 
knife, and a resolute man can drive a host of them. 
When once the Indian has tasted liquor, he does not 
leave it till drunk, or the liquor gives out. He knows 
no other use for it, except to produce intoxication. 
It is not a pleasant beverage to him ; he does not like 
the taste of it ; it is only for the effect that he drinks 
it. His palate is as little vitiated as that of a child. 
He uses no salt, nor seasoned food, and has a very 
keen and sensitive taste. I have seen an Indian in 
apparent agony by the use of whiskey ; for the arti- 
cle prepared for their market is often well spiced 
with red pepper and gums to keep up its strength. 
And I have seen the young Indian and squaw held 
by main strength, while whiskey has been adminis- 
tered to them, that they might be taught to drink it. 

I returned to Davenport with my party, having 
accomplished a good work for the season, on my 
survey for a territorial map. This I finished the 
next year. 

A Visit to Dubuque's Grave 

[On August 10, 1836, there appeared in the Du Buque Visitor, 
Iowa's first newspaper, the following account, by an unknown writer, 
of a visit to the grave of Julien Dubuque, who was working his mines 
west of the river before George Washington became President. — 
The Editor.] 

I Messrs. Editors : — Thinking that a description of 
this spot, which interested me so ranch, may not be 
entirely without interest to some of your readers, I 
send you the following extract from my journal : 

I July 16, 1836. — This was a calm and delightful 
day. Anxious to escape, for a little while, from the 
bustle and confinement of the town, I procured a 
horse and started off for the country. I first rode 
four or five miles west, and then turned south with 
the intention of visiting Du Buque 's grave. After 
riding four or five miles farther, I came to a beauti- 
ful little valley opening upon the river, — which was 
about two miles or two and a half below town, in a 
straight course. But the country along the bank of 
the river is so broken, and the hills are so high and 
steep, that no direct road has yet been made; and 
none ever can be except at great expense, — though 
it is possible that a road may be cut, without much 
difficulty, just on the bank of the river. 

Here I rested a little while, and then inquired 
where the grave was. I was told it was upon the 
point just south of the valley. The point did not 




appear more than a hundred feet high from my posi- 
tion at the foot of it ; but it being too steep for my 
horse, I fastened him at the bottom, and commenced 
the ascent on foot. I clambered along as best I 
could, assisting myself with a stick in one hand and 
by laying hold of the shrubs with the other. At 
length I reached the summit, and a scene of singular 
beauty and magnificence burst upon my view. The 
place of the grave was the point of a ridge putting in 
there, which, like the grave, was by itself — alone. 
The ridge was not less than three hundred feet high, 
and on one side of it was the fine valley I had just 
left, and on the other, the mouth of a little stream 
called the Cat-Fish. The ridge gradually narrows 
as it approaches the river ; and just at the extremity 
of it, where it is scarcely ten yards wide, and where 
a precipice of three hundred feet is on the three 
sides and so near, stands the grave. Beneath me, at 
my very feet, rolled the broad expanse of the Mis- 
sissippi. There is but a slight current in the river 
there and there was scarcely a breeze to disturb its 
surface, so that it was smooth and beautiful and 
mirror-like: and as I gazed, delighted, upon it, I 
almost fancied that 

''Lake Leman wooed me with its crystal face." 
Far above and below, the channel of the river was 
in full view, but there was no ^4ife upon the wa- H 
ters,'' — for, far as the eye could reach, there was no 
steamer or white sail" to be seen. But in the little 
creek which I have mentioned, was a * * light canoe ' \ 



— but the red man was not there. There were in it 
two Frenchmen, with their pipes. One of them pro- 
pelled the canoe, and the other sat quietly in the 
stern with his rod and line, but, as far as I could see, 
without success. Then I looked beyond the river, 
but all I could see was a narrow and apparently 
very rich bottom, a few houses and one or two excel- 
lent farms, and, beyond these, the bluffs, the continu- 
ations of the ridges on the western side. These hills 
must have been once united ; but, ages ago, they were 
disrupted by some mighty and terrible convulsion. 
It may have been by an earthquake; it may have 
been by a flood ; or the wide space between the eter- 
nal hills may have been as it is now, when the uni- 
verse came from the hands of its Creator, who made 
the mountains to rise, the valleys to sink, and the 
rivers to flow. 

Two or three miles above, lay the populous and 
flourishing town which I had just left. But what 
added its highest glory to the scene, was, that the 
sun was midway in the western heavens, and the 
atmosphere was in its finest and purest state of 
vision, and there was a light wind playing by, as if 
the Spirit of the Universe was breathing its sweet 
influence over and around all. 

But the grave — what was that? There was no 
mausoleum nor even a slab of marble there. A stone 
wall, enclosing a space about six feet long and three 
wide, two feet high, and covered by a light roof, con- 
tains his bones : — though I have been told that the 



bones which are seen are not his but those of an 
Indian. At the head of the grave stands a cross of 
red cedar, about ten feet high, on the arms of which 
are inscribed his name, the time of his death and his 
age. The following is the inscription: — ^^Julien 
Du Buque, Mineur de la mine d'Espagne, morait le 
24 Mars, 1810 — age de 45% annees.''^ 

There were many names cut on all sides of the 
cross. I have often cut my name upon trees, not only 
in frequented places, but in the solitude of the great 
woods, where I thought it possible I might visit 
again. The recollection that my name is engraven 
there, gives such places an interest which they could 
have in no other way. In places, too, like this, where 
room to write one^s name is a common heritage, I 
have always loved to write mine. And I carved it 
here upon this cross, where, from the durable nature 
of the material, it may stand for a hundred years. 

I then descended from the hill, and mounting my 
horse, rode slowly homeward, and arrived in town 
just as the shades of evening were closing around 
me. W. 

1 The baptismal register in Canada gives January 10, 1762, as the 
date of Dubuque's birth, thus making his age forty-eight instead of 
forty-five years. — The Editor. 

Comment by the Editor 


It is usually a dangerous thing to deal in superla- 
tives ; and especially does the historian find that he 
must be circumspect in saying that any man or town 
or event was the first of its kind. We think we are 
reasonably safe in saying that Julien Dubuque was 
the first permanent white settler in what is now 
Iowa. He arrived with some French Canadian 
friends in 1788, having made an agreement with the 
Sao and Fox Indians, and began to mine lead near 
the site of the town that bears his name. Probably 
no one will question his permanence, for he contin- 
ued to work his mines for nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury, and his bones were laid away in 1810 on a 
nearby hilltop overlooking the Mississippi. 

There are, however, hints of still earlier mining 
operations by white men. Father Mazzuchelli, who 
came to the Upper Mississippi Valley in the early 
thirties, says in his Memoirs: 

The lead mines to the west of the Mississippi as far as 
42%° N. had been worked at first by Mr. Long, then by his 
successor in the Indian trade, M. Cardinal, followed then 
by Mr. Dubuque. This account was given in 1835 by an 
aged Canadian, an octogenarian, who during the course of 
about twenty years had been in the service of the last men- 
tioned gentleman. 




The names Long and Cardinal are well known in 
connection with Prairie du Chien where Dubuqne 
lived before crossing the river. J ohn Long made a 
trip from Mackinac to Prairie du Chien in 1780 to 
prevent furs deposited at that place from falling 
into the hands of the Americans. But after setting 
fire to a building containing furs which he could not 
transport, he returned to the Lakes and there is no 
evidence of his ever having crossed the Mississippi. 
Apparently some time previous to this, Jean Marie 
Cardinal and his family came to Prairie du Chien 
and settled. Mrs. Cardinal lived to a ripe old age 
and when in a reminiscent mood used to tell of the 
coming of Long and the burning of the furs in 1780, 
but she seems to have said nothing of lead mines 
west of the river. 

Even though there may have been some truth in 
the octogenarian *s recital to Father Mazzuchelli, 
these early miners are but shadowy visitors, not per- 
manent settlers, and doubtless the honor of being the 
first citizen of the land will not pass from the miner 
of the Mines of Spain. 


Dubuque's career at the mines is interesting from 
the standpoint of nationality. He was a French Ca- 
nadian, who made friends with the Indians and re- 
tained a close alliance with them by reason of an 
unusual personality. He mined the land when it was 


under the rule of Spain, and he continued unper- 
turbed when it passed back to French jurisdiction 
and finally became American soil. His longest alle- 
giance was to Spain and, calling his holdings the 
Mines of Spain, he secured from Baron Carondelet, 
the Governor of Louisiana, a Spanish land grant 
in 1796, which his heirs later made the basis of an 
unsuccessful claim to the town site of Dubuque. 

That he was acquainted with the ingratiating 
phrases of diplomacy is evidenced by his letter to 
Carondelet which closes thus : 

I beseech that same goodness which makes the happiness 
of so many subjects, to pardon me my style, and be pleased 
to accept the pure simplicity of my heart in default of my 
eloquence. I pray Heaven, with all my power, that it pre- 
serve you, and that it load you with all its benefits ; and I 
am, and shall be all my life, your Excellency 's very humble, 
and very obedient, and very submissive servant. 

J. Dubuque. 

And when Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike came up 
the river in 1805 to gain information for the Amer- 
ican government, and applied pointed questions to 
Dubuque about his mines, the latter replied in such 
a fashion that the discomfited Pike could only re- 
port that ' * the answers seem to carry the semblance 
of equivocation. ' ' 

Verily this first settler of Iowa was a man whose 
personality is well worth the study of those who 
find nothing but mediocrity in the history of the 
Middle West. J. C. P. 


The First Mississippi Bridge 133 

i ^ John C. Parish 

- _ J- -■■ . . r. ■ --^-^ ^ ~~ - ■ " - ■'- 

"= - ^ ' '■. -'t ■ <g„^;-v y^,...-- E X . ...1- 

Lincoln and the Bridge Case 142 


Hummer's Bel! 

, Ruth Ieallahee 





' Ihe Siate HHoicl SQCIETYotIOWA' 



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The Palimpsest 

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Vol. Ill Issued in May 1922 No. 5 


The First Mississippi Bridge 

In the third quarter of the Nineteenth Century a 
struggle was going on in the Mississippi Valley be- 
tween the forces behind north and south traffic and 
similar forces whose direction lay across the conti- 
nent from east to west. It was a contest between 
the old lines of migration and the new ; between the 
South and the East; between the slow and cheap 
transportation by water, and the rapid but more 
expensive transportation by rail ; and it arrayed St. 
Louis and Chicago against each other in an intense 

It was a struggle in which the river interests 
played a losing game. The steamboat could only 
follow the water systems, while the railroad com- 
panies could lay their rails almost anjrwhere. A 
crisis came when an audacious railroad flung its rails 
across the path of the Mississippi steamboats at 
Rock Island. 

In the early fifties the firm of Sheffield and Far- 
nam completed the construction of the Michigan 




Southern Kailroad into Chicago, and this was but 
the preface to the building of the Chicago and Rock 
Island Railroad by the same firm from Chicago to 
the Mississippi River. The first train on this line 
reached the bank of the river at Rock Island in 1854 
— and came naturally and positively to a halt. 

Mr. Joseph E. Sheffield, patron of the Sheffield 
Scientific School at Yale University, now retired 
from active construction work, but his partner, 
Henry Farnam, continued his interest and activity 
in railroad building. He associated himself with a 
group of men from Iowa, Illinois, and the East, who 
organized the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad. 
This company projected a railway beginning at 
Davenport, across the river from the railhead at 
Rock Island, and crossing the State of Iowa to the 
Missouri River at Council Bluffs. 

In order to unite these two railroads and make 
continuous the line of rails across the Valley, it was 
necessary to bridge the Mississippi River. In all 
the length of the stream from St. Paul to the Gulf of 
Mexico no bridges existed. It was a navigable water- 
way consecrated by nature, so thought the steam- 
boat interests, to the north and south commerce. 

The railroad interests, however, were little dis- 
posed to give consideration to such traditions, and 
on January 17, 1853, they secured the passage of a 
law by the Illinois legislature incorporating the 
Railroad Bridge Company, and authorizing it to 
build, maintain, and use a railroad bridge over the 


Mississippi Eiver, or that portion lying within the 
State of Illinois at or near Rock Island. 

Henry Farnam was president of the bridge com- 
pany and was chief engineer in the construction 
work. The Eailroad Bridge Company issued bonds 
which were guaranteed by the two railroad com- 
panies, and commenced operations. They had 
authority only to build across that portion of the 
river lying within the State of Illinois, but they made 
an agreement whereby they cooperated with the 
Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company which 
could act under the authority of the laws of Iowa in 
the construction work on the Iowa side of the boun- 
dary. The latter company had secured from 
Antoine Le Claire a deed to the Iowa bank of the 
river at the required spot, and hence a right of way 
from the shore to the middle of the channel. 

The construction really involved three portions: 
a bridge across the narrow arm of the river between 
the Illinois shore and the Island, a line of tracks 
across Rock Island, and the long bridge between the 
Island and the Iowa shore. The channel of the river 
passed the west side of the Island, and down the 
middle of this channel ran the boundary line between 
the two States. The bridge was of wooden super- 
structure and rested upon six piers between the 
Island and the western shore. Three piers were 
within the Iowa boundary and three on Illinois bot- 
tom. Of the latter three, the one nearest to Iowa 
was a large circular stone pier. It had a width of 



45 feet and was prolonged up and down stream by 
guard piers until it reached a length of 386 feet. 
On this large pier rested the turntable or revolving 
section of the bridge which when turned at right 
angles to the rest of the bridge left an opening of 
116 feet on the Illinois side of the pier and 111 feet 
on the Iowa side. Boats found the Illinois opening 
the more satisfactory because of eddies at the foot 
of the long pier on the Iowa side, and the latter was 
not used. The ordinary spans of the bridge had 
openings of 250 feet in the clear and through these 
went the lumber rafts — some as wide as 170 feet — 
and the boats without chimneys. 

The opponents of this construction did not wait 
for the bridge to be built before beginning their at- 
tack. The Secretary of War directed the United 
States District Attorney for the northern district of 
Illinois to apply for an injunction to prevent the 
construction of a railroad across the Island and of 
bridges over the river. The case — that of the 
United States v. Railroad Bridge Company et al. — 
came before the United States Circuit Court in July, 
1855. The presiding judge was John McLean, Asso- 
ciate Justice of the Supreme Court. The matter at 
issue was largely the right to cross the Island, which 
was government property, but the question of the 
obstruction presented by the bridges was also in- 
volved. Judge McLean upheld the right of the 
bridge company and overruled the d<^mand for an 


So the work proceeded. In the latter part of 
April, 1856, the bridge was completed and the first 
train pulled across to Davenport, much to the joy of 
the people of Iowa. Use of the new bridge, however, 
was soon interrupted. The steamboat Effie Afton, 
attempting to go through the Illinois opening on 
May 6th, was wrecked against the piers. The boat 
caught fire and was destroyed, the flames also con- 
suming the wooden span east of the draw, thus put- 
ting the bridge out of commission. Over four 
months elapsed before repairs could be completed 
so as to allow trains to resume the crossing of the 

The owners of the Effie Afton now brought suit 
against the bridge company for damages, the boat 
having been completely destroyed. This case — 
Hurd et al. v. Railroad Bridge Company — came 
to trial before Justice John McLean in the United 
States Circuit Court in September, 1857. Abraham 
Lincoln was one of the attorneys for the bridge com- 
pany, and a report of his argument to the jury is 
printed in the pages following the present article. 
His colleagues as counsel for the defense were 
Joseph Knox of Rock Island and N. B. Judd of 
Chicago, while the counsel for the plaintiffs were 
H. M. Wead of Peoria and T. D. Lincoln of Cin- 

The testimony was voluminous, the plaintiffs rely- 
ing largely upon the statements of steamboat pilots 
and captains who for the most part declared the 



bridge a nuisance and a great obstruction to the 
navigation of the river. Prominent engineers were 
called upon the stand by both parties to the suit. 
In the end, however, the jury failed to agree and was 

The feeling between river and railroad men was 
naturally not quieted by this outcome of the trial. 
The House of Eepresentatives of the United States 
Congress, on January 4, 1858, instructed the Com- 
mittee on Commerce to inquire if the railroad bridge 
across the Mississippi Eiver at Eock Island was a 
serious obstruction to the navigation of that river, 
and if so to report to the House what action, if any, 
was necessary on the part of the government to 
cause such obstruction to be removed. 

The committee made the investigation and came 
to the conclusion that the bridge did constitute a 
material and dangerous obstruction to the naviga- 
tion of the river but they believed **that the courts 
have full and ample power to remedy any evil that 
may exist in that regard. At present they are dis- 
inclined to recommend any action by Congress in 
the premises''. 

Then came James Ward, a St. Louis steamboat 
owner, who on May 7, 1858, filed a bill in the United 
States District Court for the Southern Division of 
the State of Iowa asking that the bridge be declared 
a nuisance and ordered removed. Again voluminous 
testimony was taken. On the final hearing in No- 
vember, 1859, Judge John M. Love gave his decision 


upholding the complaint. He declared the bridge 
^'a common and public nuisance and ordered the 
Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company to re- 
move the three piers and their superstructure, which 
lay within the State of Iowa. 

The attitude of Judge Love to the question of 
river versus railroad is shown in his opinion. **It 
involves he said, **a question of public policy as 
well as private right. We must, therefore, continue 
the precedent which is to be established ' \ He com- 
mented on the fact that Dubuque and Lyons were 
already contemplating bridges, and that probably 
McGregor, La Crosse, Muscatine, Burlington, Keo- 
kuk, Quincy, Hannibal, and St. Louis would follow. 
^^Thus'', he said, "li this precedent be established, 
we shall probably, in no great period of time, have 
railroad bridges upon the Mississippi River at every 
forty or fifty miles of its course.^' Such an impend- 
ing catastrophe as this apparently had considerable 
weight in bringing him to a decision. 

The piers, however, were not torn out, for the 
Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company ap- 
pealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. 
An interesting feature of Judge Love's decision lay 
in the fact that although the river commerce went 
largely through the Illinois opening and the diffi- 
culties of the steamboat men were in the passage of 
this regular channel east of the turntable pier, the 
outcome of the suit was to order torn out the Iowa 
part of the bridge, which side was not used by 



steamboats, leaving the turntable and Illinois chan- 
nel unchanged. The removal of the Iowa piers 
would in no way better steamboat traffic for the eddy 
would still exist on the Iowa side as long as the turn- 
table pier was left untouched, and the latter could 
not be affected by Judge Love's court because it was 
upon the Illinois side of the boundary. Neverthe- 
less the carrying out of the decree would have effec- 
tually put an end to the river crossing, for the old 
proverb ' ' a half a loaf is better than none ' ' does not 
apply to bridges. 

The appeal came before the United States Su- 
preme Court at its December term, 1862, and that 
court, though not by a unanimous decision, reversed 
the decision of the District Court and permitted the 
bridge to remain. The general attitude of the Court 
toward bridges is shown in the last paragraph of 
Judge Catron's opinion. Speaking of the insistence 
of the river men on the free navigation of the whole 
river from bank to bank, he remarked : 

According to this assumption, no lawful bridge 
could be built across the Mississippi anywhere. Nor 
could harbors or rivers be improved; nor could the 
great facilities to commerce, accomplished by the 
invention of railroads, be made available where 
great rivers had to be crossed.'' 

The realization of the necessity of bridge cross- 
ings even over navigable streams had become wide- 
spread, and each year the railroads found less to 
fear in their contest on this point with the river 


The original bridge, however, did not have a long 
existence. In the sixties the United States Govern- 
ment resumed the use of the Island for military pur- 
poses. This led to an agreement in 1867 between 
government officials and the Chicago, Bock Island 
and Pacific Eailroad Company, whereby the com- 
pany was granted a new right of way across the 
western or lower point of the Island. A new bridge 
was to be built at this point, the government and the 
railroad each to bear half the cost, the bridge to be 
the property of the government and the railroad to 
have right of way over it. Upon the completion of 
the new bridge, the old bridge and tracks were to be 
removed. The new bridge was completed in 1873. 

The original bridge across the Mississippi Eiver 
thus had a life time of less than twenty years. For 
a decade its stone piers and wooden spans were the 
focus of a struggle that involved large issues. In 
1921 Mr. Henry W. Farnam, of New Haven, a son of 
the builder of the bridge, visited the scene of his 
father's construction work. He found on the Island 
an ancient stone pier overgrown with vegetation — 
the only relic and monument of the veteran bridge 
that first spanned the Father of Waters. 

John C. Paeish 

Lincoln and the Bridge Case 

[On May 6, 1856, the steamer Effie Afton was wrecked against the 
piers of the railroad bridge at Eock Island. This newly constructed 
bridge was the first to cross the Mississippi, and was a thorn in the 
flesh to the steamboat men and to the commercial interests of St. 
Louis. Suit was brought against the bridge company and when the 
action — entitled Hurd et al. v. the Railroad Bridge Company — came 
before the United States Circuit Court, with Judge John McLean 
presiding, Abraham Lincoln was one of the attorneys for the bridge 

A copy of his argument in the case, in the possession of Mr. A. N. 
Harbert of Iowa City, was kindly loaned to the Society and, through 
the courtesy of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, was verified 
with the original report which appeared in the Chicago Daily Press 
for September 24, 1857. In editing the article obvious typographical 
errors have been corrected but otherwise the newspaper account has 
not been changed. — The Editor] 


Tuesday, September 22d, 1857. 
Hon. Abram Lincoln's Argument. 

Court met pursuant to adjournment. 

Mr. A. Lincoln addressed the jury: He said he 
did not purpose to assail anybody, that he expected 
to grow earnest as he proceeded but not ill-natured. 
There is some conflict of testimony in the case, but 
one quarter of such a number of witnesses, seldom 
agree, and even if all had been on one side some dis- 
crepancy might have been expected. We are to try 
and reconcile them, and to believe that they are not 
intentionally erroneous, as long as we can. He had 



no prejudice against steamboats or steamboatmen 
nor any against St. Louis, for he supposed they 
went about as other people would do in their situ- 
ation. St. Louis as a commercial place, may desire 
that this bridge should not stand, as it is adverse to 
her commerce, diverting a portion of it from the 
river; and it might be that she supposed that the 
additional cost of railroad transportation upon the 
productions of Iowa, would force them to go to St. 
Louis if this bridge was removed. The meetings in 
St. Louis were connected with this case, only as 
some witnesses were in it and thus had some preju- 
dice add color to their testimony. The last thing 
that would be pleasing to him would be to have one 
of these great channels, extending almost from 
where it never freezes to where it never thaws, 
blocked up. But there is a travel from east to west, 
whose demands are not less important than that of 
the river. It is growing larger and larger, building 
up new countries with a rapidity never before seen 
in the history of the world. He alluded to the aston- 
ishing growth of Illinois, having grown within his 
memory to a population of a million and a half ; to 
Iowa and the other young and rising communities 
of the Northwest. 

This current of travel has its rights, as well as 
that north and south. If the river had not the ad- 
vantage in priority and legislation, we could enter 
into free competition with it and we would surpass 
it. This particular line has a great importance, and 



the statement of its business during a little less than 
a year shows this importance. It is in evidence 
that from September 8, 1856, to August 8, 1857, 
12,586 freight cars and 74,179 passengers passed 
over this bridge. Navigation was closed four days 
short of four months last year, and during this time, 
while the river was of no use, this road and bridge 
were equally valuable. There is, too, a considerable 
portion of time, when floating or thin ice makes the 
river useless, while the bridge is as useful as ever. 
This shows that this bridge must be treated with 
respect in this court and is not to be kicked about 
with contempt. 

The other day Judge Wead alluded to the strife 
of the contending interests, and even a dissolution 
of the Union. Mr. Lincoln thought the proper mood 
for all parties in this affair, is to **live and let live," 
and then we will find a cessation of this trouble 
about the bridge. What mood were the steamboat 
men in when this bridge was burned? Why there 
was a shouting, a ringing of bells and whistling on 
all the boats as it fell. It was a jubilee, a greater 
celebration than follows an excited election. 

The first thing I will proceed to is the record of 
Mr. Gurney and the complaint of Judge Wead, that 
it did not extend back over all the time from the 
completion of the bridge. The principal part of the 
navigation after the bridge was burned passed 
through the span. When the bridge was repaired 
and the boats were a second time confined to the 


draw, it was provided that this record should be 
kept. That is the simple history of that book. 

From April 19, 1856, to May 6 — seventeen days 
— there were 20 accidents, and all the time since 
then there has been but 20 hits, including 7 acci- 
dents ; so that the dangers of this place are tapering 
off, and, as the boatmen get cool, the accidents get 
less. We may soon expect, if this ratio is kept up, 
that there will be no accidents at all. 

Judge Wead said, while admitting that the floats 
went straight through, there was a difference be- 
tween a float and a boat, but I do not remember that 
he indulged us with an argument in support of this 
statement. Is it because there is a difference in 
size! Will not a small body and a large one, float 
the same way, under the same influence? True, a 
flat boat would float faster than an egg-shell, and 
the egg-shell might be blown away by the wind, but 
if under the same influence they would go the same 
way. Logs, floats, boards, various things, the wit- 
nesses say all show the same current. Then is not 
this test reliable! At all depths too, the direction 
of the current is the same. A series of these floats 
would make a line as long as a boat, and would show 
any influence upon any part, and all parts of the 

I will now speak of the angular position of the 
piers. What is the amount of the angle! The 
course of the river is a curve and the pier is straight. 
If a line is produced from the upper end of the long 



pier straight with the pier to a distance of 350 feet, 
and a line is drawn from a point in the channel 
opposite this point to the head of the pier, Col. 
Mason says they will form an angle of 20 degrees ; 
but the angle if measured at the pier, is 7 degrees — 
that is, we would have to move the pier 7 degrees, 
and then it would be exactly straight with the cur- 
rent. Would that make the navigation better or 
worse? The witnesses of the plaintiffs seemed to 
think it was only necessary to say that the pier was 
angling to the current, and that settled the matter. 
Our more careful and accurate witnesses say, that 
though they have been accustomed to seeing the 
piers placed straight with the current, yet, they 
could see that here the current has been made 
straight by us, in having made this slight angle — 
that the water now runs just right that it is straight 
and cannot be improved. They think that if the pier 
was changed the eddy would be divided, and the 
navigation improved; and that as it is, the bridge 
is placed in the best manner possible. 

I am not now going to discuss the question what 
is a material obstruction? We do not very greatly 
differ about the law. The cases produced here, are, 
I suppose, proper to be taken into consideration by 
the Court in instructing the jurj. Some of them I 
think are not exactly in point, but still I am willing 
to trust his honor, Judge McLean, and take his in- 
structions as law. 

What is reasonable skill and care? This is a thing 


of which the jury are to judge. I differ from them 
in saying that they are bound to exercise no more 
care than they took before the building of the bridge. 
If we are allowed by the Legislature to build a 
bridge, which will require them to do more than be- 
fore, when a pilot comes along, it is unreasonable 
for him to dash on, heedless of this structure, which 
has been legally put there. The Afton came there 
on the 5th, and lay at Rock Island until next morn- 
ing. When the boat lies up, the pilot has a holiday, 
and would not any of these jurors have then gone 
around there, and got acquainted with the place? 
Parker has shown here that he does not understand 
the draw. I heard him say that the fall from the 
head to the foot of that pier was four feet! He 
needs information. He could have gone there that 
day and have seen there was no such fall. He 
should have discarded passion, and the chances are 
that he would have had no disaster at all. He was 
bound to make himself acquainted with it. 

McCammon says that ^^the current and the swell 
coming from the long pier, drove her against the 
long pier'\ Drove her towards the very pier from 
which the current came I It is an absurdity, an im- 
possibility. The only reconciliation I can find for 
this contradiction, is in a current which White says 
strikes out from the long pier, and then, like a ram's 
horn, turns back, and this might have acted some- 
how in this manner. 

It is agreed by all that the plaintiffs boat was 



destroyed; that it was destroyed upon the head of 
the short pier; that she moved from the channel, 
where she was, with her bow above the head of the 
long pier, till she struck the short one, swung around 
under the bridge, and there was crowded under the 
bridge and destroyed. 

I shall try to prove that the average velocity of 
the current through the draw with the boat in it, 
should be five and a half miles an hour; that it is 
slowest at the head of the pier, — swiftest at the foot 
of the pier. Their lowest estimate, in evidence, is 
six miles an hour, their highest twelve miles. This 
was the testimony of men who had made no experi- 
ment — only conjecture. We have adopted the most 
exact means. The water runs swiftest in high water, 
and we have taken the point of nine feet above low 
water. The water, when the Afton was lost, was 
seven feet above low water, or at least a foot lower 
than our time. Brayton and his assistants timed the 
instruments — the best known instruments for 
measuring currents. They timed them under vari- 
ous circumstances, and they found the current five 
miles an hour, and no more. They found that the 
water, at the upper end, run slower than five miles ; 
that below it was swifter than five miles, but that the 
average was five miles. Shall men, who have no 
care, who conjecture, some of whom speak of twenty 
miles an hour be believed, against those who have 
had such a favorable and well-improved opportu- 
nity? They should not even (/i(a?i/^/ the result. Sev- 


eral men have given their opinion as to the distance 
of the Carson, and I suppose if one should go and 
measure that distance, you would believe him in 
preference to all of them. 

These measurements were made when the boat 
was not in the draw. It has been ascertained what 
is the area of the cross-section of the stream, and 
the area of the face of the piers, and the engineers 
say, that the piers being put there will increase the 
current proportionably as the space is decreased. 
So with the boat in the draw. The depth of the 
channel was 22 feet, the width 116 feet — multiply 
these and you have the square feet across the water 
of the draw, viz : 2,552 feet. The Afton was 35 feet 
wide and drew five feet, making a fourteenth of the 
sum. Now one-fourteenth of five miles is five-four- 
teenths of one mile — about one-third of a mile — 
the increase of the current. We will call the current 
5% miles per hour. 

The next thing I will try to prove is that the plain- 
tiff's boat had power to run six miles an hour in 
that current. It has been testified that she was a 
strong, swift boat, able to run eight miles an hour 
up stream in a current of four miles an hour, and 
fifteen miles down stream. Strike the average and 
you will find what is her average — about 11% 
miles. Take the Si/o miles which is the speed of the 
current in the draw, and it leaves the power of the 
boat in that draw at six miles an hour, 528 feet per 
minute, and 8 4-5 feet to the second. 



Next I propose to show that there are no cross 
currents. I know their witnesses say that there are 
cross currents — that, as one witness says, there 
are three cross currents and two eddies. So far as 
mere statement without experiment, and mingled 
with mistakes can go, they have proved. But can 
these men's testimony be compared with the nice, 
exact, thorough experiments of our witnesses. Can 
you believe that these floats go across the currents. 
It is inconceivable that they could not have discov- 
ered every possible current. How do boats find 
currents that floats cannot discover? We assume 
the position then that those cross currents are not 
there. My next proposition is that the Afton passed 
between the S. B. Carson and Iowa shore. That is 

Next I shall show that she struck first the short 
pier, then the long pier, then the short one again 
and there she stopped. Mr. Lincoln cited the testi- 
mony of eighteen witnesses on this point. How did 
the boat strike Baker [sic] when she went in! Here 
is an endless variety of opinion. But ten of them 
say what pier she struck ; three of them testify that 
she struck first the short, then the long, then the 
short pier for the last time. None of the rest sub- 
stantially contradict this. I assume that these men 
have got the truth, because I believe it an established 

My next proposition is that after she struck the 
short and long pier and before she got back to the 


short pier the boat got right with her bow out. So 
says the Pilot Parker — that he **got her through 
until her starboard wheel passed the short pier'*. 
This would make her head about even with the head 
of the long pier. He says her head was as high or 
higher than the head of the long pier. Other wit- 
nesses confirmed this one. The final stroke was in 
the splash door, aft the wheel. Witnesses differ but 
the majority say she struck thus. 
Court adjourned. 


Wednesday, September 23, 1857. 

Mr. A. Lincoln resumed. He said he should con- 
clude as soon as possible. He said the colored map 
of the plaintiffs, which was brought in during the 
advanced stages of the trial, showed itself that the 
cross currents alledged did not exist; that the cur- 
rent as represented would drive an ascending boat 
to the long pier, but not to the short pier as they 
urged. He explained from a model of a boat where 
the splash door is, just behind the wheel. The boat 
struck on the lower shoulder of the short pier, as 
she swung around, in the splash door, then as she 
went on round she struck the point or end of the 
pier, where she rested. Her engineers say the star- 
board wheel then was rushing round rapidly. Then 
the boat must have struck the upper point of the pier 
so far back as not to disturb the wheel. It is forty 
feet from the stern of the Afton to the splash door, 



and thus it appears that she had but forty feet to go 
to clear the pier. 

How was it that the Afton, with all her power, 
flanked over from the channel to the short pier with- 
out moving one inch ahead? Suppose she was in the 
middle of the draw, her wheel would have been 31 
feet from the short pier. The reason she went over 
thus is, her starboard wheel was not working. I 
shall try to establish the fact that that wheel was not 
running, and, that after she struck, she went ahead 
strong on this same wheel. Upon the last point the 
witnesses agree — that the starboard wheel was 
running after she struck — and no witnesses say that 
it was running while she was out in the draw flank- 
ing over. Mr. Lincoln read from the testimony of 
various witnesses to prove that the starboard wheel 
was not working while she was out in the stream. 
Other witnesses show that the captain said some- 
thing of the machinery of the wheel, and the infer- 
ence is that he knew the wheel was not working. 
The fact is undisputed, that she did not move one 
inch ahead, while she was moving this 31 feet side- 
ways. There is evidence proving that the current 
there is only five miles an hour, and the only expla- 
nation is that her power was not all used — that 
only one wheel was working. The pilot says he 
ordered the engineers to back her out. The engi- 
neers differ from him and say that they kept one 
[sic] going ahead. The bow was so swung that the 
current pressed it over; the pilot pressed the stern 


over with the rudder, though not so fast but that the 
bow gained on it, and only one wheel being in mo- 
tion, the boat merely stood still so far as motion up 
and down is concerned, and thus she was thrown 
upon this pier. 

The Afton came into the draw after she had just 
passed the Carson, and, as the Carson no doubt kept 
the true course, the Afton going around her, got out 
of the proper way, got across the current, into the 
eddy which is west of a straight line drawn down 
from the long pier, was compelled to resort to these 
changes of wheels, which she did not do with suf- 
ficient adroitness to save her. Was it not her own 
fault that she entered wrong? so far, wrong that 
she never got right. Is the defence to blame for 

For several days we were entertained with depo- 
sitions about boats smelling a bar''. Why did the 
Afton then, after she had come up smelling so close 
to the long pier sheer off so strangely? When she 
got to the centre of the very nose she was smelling, 
she seemed suddenly to have lost her sense of smell 
and flanks over to the short pier. 

Mr. Lincoln said there was no practicability in the 
project of building a tunnel under the river, for there 
is not a tunnel that is a successful project, in the 
world. A suspension bridge cannot be built so high, 
but that the chimneys of the boats will grow up till 
they cannot pass. The steamboatmen will take pains 
to make them grow. The cars of a railroad, cannot, 



without immense expense, rise higli enougli to get 
even with a suspension bridge, or go low enough to 
get down through a tunnel. Such expense is un- 

The plaintiffs have to establish that the bridge is 
a material obstruction, and that they managed their 
boat with reasonable care and skill. As to the last 
point, high winds have nothing to do with it, for it 
was not a windy day. They must show **due skill 
and care.'' Difficulties going down stream, will not 
do, for they were going upstream. Difficulties with 
barges in tow, have nothing to do with it, for they 
had no barge. He said he had much more to say, 
many things he could suggest to the jury, but he 
would close to save time. 


Hummer's Bell 

Michael Hummer was the first regular pastor of 
the Presbyterian Church at Iowa City, coming to the 
little frontier capital in 1841. A faded photograph 
reveals a man similar in type to Eobert Lucas, the 
first Governor. The face is thin with high cheek 
bones and an aquiline nose. Heavy and irregular 
lines cross the high forehead, and the tight-lipped 
mouth is drawn down at the corners as if he is deter- 
mined not to smile at any one, least of all at his own 
mistakes. The deep-set eyes, overshadowed by 
heavy arched eyebrows express a surprised and 
pathetic disappointment over his treatment by the 
world. A serious minded, visionary, and erratic 
character he seems, a man little fitted for the prac- 
tical every day life of the frontier. A contemporary 
characterized him as *^a man of vigorous intellect 
& an orator, but of ungovernable temper.'^ 

It fell to the lot of Michael Hummer to organize 
the Presbyterian congregation at Iowa City and 
build a church in which they might worship and he 
entered upon his work with confidence and energy. 
The little group of Presbyterians, however, found it 
impossible to raise the five thousand dollars needed 
for the building and the pastor was sent east to raise 
money among the older and richer congregations, 
with the agreement that he was to receive his ex- 




penses and ten per cent of the money collected. It 
appears that he made two or three trips on this mis- 
sion and spent some two years and a half in the 

Just how much money Mr. Hummer collected is 
not recorded, nor is it important in this connection. 
His sojourn in the East, however, had two important 
results. For one thing he secured the bell for the 
church building at Iowa City, a coveted possession 
of all early churches, and at the time of its installa- 
tion, it is said, the only church bell west of the Mis- 
sissippi River towns. Naturally the community was 
proud of its possession and the members of the 
Presbyterian congregation felt a thrill of pride as 
each Sabbath morning they listened to its call. 

But the visits of Mr. Hummer in the East had 
another and less fortunate result. Always excitable 
and somewhat peculiar, an avowed infidel before his 
conversion, he now embraced Swedenborgianism 
and soon became a believer in spiritualism. These 
beliefs, together with his other peculiarities, soon 
made him unpopular with his congregation and 
charges of misconduct were preferred against him. 
He was tried before the presbytery, which he de- 
nounced as ^^a den of ecclesiastical thieves'', and in 
1848 was expelled from the ministry. 

Before leaving Iowa City, however, he made a 
bargain with the church trustees by which he ob- 
tained possession of the communion service, two 
Bibles, the pulpit furniture, and other movable 



property, as part payment of the church's debt to 
him for unpaid salary. In addition he also received 
a note for some $650, secured by a mortgage on the 
real estate of the church. 

Soon after this settlement, Michael Hummer went 
to Keokuk, where, it is said, he planned a spiritual- 
istic temple or church. Perhaps it was the contem- 
plation of this sanctuary which reminded him that 
he had forgotten the church bell at Iowa City. Here 
was an opportunity to revenge himself on the con- 
gregation which had rejected him and at the same 
time secure a bell for his new temple. 

Accordingly Mr. Hummer returned to Iowa City 
late in the summer of 1848, accompanied by J. W. 
Margrave who had been one of the church trustees 
but had followed the former pastor to Keokuk. The 
two men went to the church and Mr. Hummer 
mounted into the belfry. He unfastened the bell and 
with ropes and tackle slowly lowered it to the 

But this took time and, Iowa City being a small 
place, a crowd soon collected to see what was hap- 
pening. The two conspirators apparently did not 
anticipate so much pilblicity nor were they prepared 
for resistance. While Mr. Hummer was still in the 
belfry unfastening the tackle. Dr. Margrave left the 
bell unprotected and went off for the team and 
wagon which were to transport the bell to Keokuk. 
During his absence some of the spectators decided 
to play a practical joke on the would-be abductors of 



the bell — and at the same time prevent the removal 
of the treasure from the city. 

Having first removed the ladder, thus imprison- 
ing the irate Mr. Hummer in the empty belfry, the 
Iowa City men, who, it is said, were not members of 
the congregation, quickly procured a team and hav- 
ing loaded the bell on the wagon, drove rapidly 
away leaving Mr. Hummer raving and gesticulating 
while the delighted small boys and other bystanders 
laughed and gibed at his helpless wrath. Driven al- 
most to frenzy by this treatment the former minister 
delivered an impromptu sermon more remarkable 
for its emphatic language than for logic of thought 
and drove home his points by hurling pieces of 
scantling, bricks, and loose boards at the crowd be- 
low which with characteristic American levity con- 
sidered the demonstration a huge joke. At last Dr. 
Margrave returned and released his tormented chief, 
but the bell was gone, whither Michael Hummer did 
not know. 

Escorted by a number of Iowa City admirers, the 
bell had been taken up the Iowa River to a point 
near the mouth of Rapid Creek, where it was sunk 
in deep water, chained to an elm tree, there to await 
the settlement of the difficulties between the ex-min- 
ister and the congregation. Here the curtain de- 
scends on the first act of the comedy. 

The incident, of course, attracted much attention 
in the little frontier community and incidentally 
had an important effect on the career of one of the 



observers. A young man who had watched the pro- 
ceedings at the church and perhaps followed the cha- 
grined Mr. Hunimer about during the remainder of 
his stay in town, drew a crude cartoon of the events 
on a sheet of brown paper. This attracted the atten- 
tion of a man who decided that the rude drawing 
showed unusual talent. He looked up the artist and 
assisted him in the development of his talent. This 
boy was George Yewell, afterwards a noted portrait 
painter. His cartoon is still preserved in the library 
of the State Historical Society of Iowa. 

This drawing is in seven sections, the first picture 
portraying the scene at the church, where Michael 
Hummer is hurling missiles at his tormentors while 
small boys dance in glee and even one of the horses 
turns its head in astonishment at the commotion. 
This is labelled ^^The Outbreak' \ The remaining 
drawings are entitled *^The Parson in a Rage", 
' ' The Ghost Appearing unto Michael ^ ^ Arrival of 
the Attorney'', Clairvoyance ", *^The Missionary 
Sermon", and **The Attorney ^Slopes' ". 

Below the drawing is a written explanation of the 
events in the following language : 

And it came to pass that Michael did ascend unto the 
housetop and commence taking down the bell — And the 
multitude cried out unto him to show by what right he did 
so : but he did hold his peace. 

Now when Michael had lowered the bell even unto the 
floor of the building lo ! the people laid hands on it and 
carried it away. Then Michael waxed wroth and did say 



many naughty things and did cast pieces of wood among 
the multitude who cried unto him to stop lest he should 
kill some one. Then Michael raised his voice aloud and 
cried "Verily, verily, will I kill more of you.'' 

Now when evening was come Michael and his serving- 
man did go into a room in a public inn. And Michael's 
wrath was great and he did kick over the chairs and stools 
insomuch that his serving-man did quake and tremble. — 
And Michael bade him take a horse and ride to a distant 
town and hasten back with a cunning man who was a law- 
yer and then he would fix the rebellious multitude. 

When the serving man had departed and night was come, 
Michael did retire to his bed and lo ! about the middle watch 
he was awakened by a rushing noise. He leaped from his 
couch and saw a bright light at a far distance coming to- 
wards him. And Michael watched it and trembled. It 
suddenly became of the shape of a huge bell such an one as 
he did try to take the day past. And it stopped, and a 
huge face did appear on the top of the bell and did say 
unto him ''Michael! Michael!! Michael!!!" And Michael 
answered ' ' What wilt thou ' ' and it answered ' ' Verily verily 
will I visit thee in thy slumbers until thou forsake thy 
wickedness. ' ' 

Now when the serving man did arrive in the morning 
with the lawyer, Michael was much down cast because of 
the visit of the ghost on the past night. Nevertheless they 
did set themselves to work to devise means to find where the 
multitude had hid the bell. Finally the serving man did 
remember that he had a sister who by the means of Clair- 
voyance could give unto them the information. 

And straightway they journeyed unto Keokuk and did 
hire a learned man who did put the young woman in a 



state of Clairvoyance. And then he spake to her saying, 
"Where is the bell." And she forthwith answered "Veri- 
ly it is in a well five miles distant S. W. from the town 
wherein it was placed." 

Now Michael 's spirits did revive and straightway he sent 
the cunning man to the town to preach unto the natives 
and to threaten them. 

And he did so and the multitude did laugh at and perse- 
cute him. Nevertheless he threatened the wrath of the law, 
and of the law-loving Michael, but they only laughed the 
greater until with a sad heart and sorrowful countenance 
he bade adieu and straightway mounted his horse and with- 
out a hat did journey no one knew whither and has not 
been heard of since. 

And also of Michael and his serving-man nothing more 
can be found. Verily, verily, they shall have their reward. 

The serving man in this narrative was probably 
J. W. Margrave, the attorney was Ralph P. Lowe, 
afterwards Governor of Iowa, who represented 
Michael Hummer in the litigation which followed, 
and the young woman seer was Mary Margrave, a 
sister of J. W. Margrave. Much seeking failed to 
reveal the presence of the bell in the Iowa City wells, 
as suggested by the clairvoyant. It was also ru- 
mored that it was buried under the Old Capitol, but 
the bell was not found. 

In the meantime the litigation concerning the 
church debt dragged on until 1853 when the trustees 
made a settlement with Mr. Hummer, for whom a 
guardian had been appointed on the ground that he 
was ^^a Monomaniac upon the subject of Communi- 



cations with the Spirits of another world . . . . 
and is therefore incompetent to take care of his 
property''. By this agreement Hummer received 
four hundred dollars in cash, one hundred dollars in 
one year with interest and costs up to fifty dollars. 
The missing bell was, however, charged against him 
so that he became legally the owner of the bell. 

But where was the bell? When some of its ab- 
ductors went to get it, the bell was gone — like 
many another hidden treasure — and it was not un- 
til a number of years afterwards that the mystery 
was explained by news from Salt Lake City. Ac- 
cording to this story, two Mormons who were living 
in Iowa City at the time and knew the whereabouts 
of the bell decided to take it with them on their trip 
to Utah. They resurrected the bell, packed it in 
sawdust, headed it up in a hogshead, loaded it on an 
ox wagon, and made off with it across the plains. 
The clapper, however, was left behind rusting in a 

Having arrived at Salt Lake City the men sold the 
bell to Brigham Young. Some time later a rumor 
of the missing bell at Iowa City having reached Salt 
Lake City, Brigham Young instructed one of his 
clerks who had a brother at Iowa City to write to 
him that the owners of the bell might have it, if they 
proved their ownership and paid the expenses of its 
return, or he would pay them a reasonable & fair" 
price for it. This notice seems to have aroused no 
enthusiasm at Iowa City. Probably they considered 



that the bell now belonged to Michael Hummer. In 
1868 Brigham Young himself wrote to S. M. Osmond, 
then the minister at Iowa City, that the bell ^ ^ is still 
laying here idle, as it always has done, and is at 
your disposal on the same conditions, whenever you 
please to send for it, accompanied with sufficient evi- 
dence that you are authorized to receive it for the 
congregation for whom it was manufactured''. An 
attempt was made to raise funds for the return of 
the bell, but the plan failed and the bell remained 
with the Mormons. 

The story of its career, however, has been told 
and retold for over seventy years. It has even been 
the inspiration of a song, which was evolved in the 
following manner. One evening while a group of 
lawyers were assembled in the bar room at Swan's 
Hotel in Iowa City, John P. Cook announced that 
he had prepared a parody on Moore's Those 
Evening Bells" and proceeded to sing his composi- 
tion. The following evening a rival appeared in the 
person of William H. Tuthill of Tipton who had 
written three additional verses. These also were 
sung by Mr. Cook. Here then is the story of the 
bell as told in song. 

''Ah, Hummer's bell ! Ah, Hummer's bell ! 
How many a tale of woe 'twould tell, 
Of Hummer driving up to town 
To take the brazen jewel down, 
And when high up in his belfre-e, 



They moved the ladder, yes, sir-e-e; 
Thus while he towered aloft, they say. 
The bell took wings and flew away. 

' ' Ah, Hummer 's bell ! Ah, Hummer 's bell ! 
The bard thy history shall tell ; 
How at the East, by Hummer's sleight, 
Donation, gift and widow's mite, 
Made up the sum that purchased thee, 
And placed him in the ministry ; 
But funds grew low, while dander riz. 
Thy clapper stopped, and so did his. 

' ' Ah, Hummer's bell ! Ah, Hummer's bell ! 
"We've heard thy last, thy funeral knell, 
And what an aching void is left. 
Of bell and Hummer both bereft. 
Thou deeply sunk in running stream, 
Bim in a Swedenborgian dream. 
Both are submerged, both, to our cost, 
Alike to sense and reason lost. 

Ah, Hummer's bell ! Ah, Hummer's bell ! 
Hidden unwisely, but too well; 
Alas, thou'rt gone, thy silver tone 
No more responds to Hummer 's groan ; 
But yet remains one source of hope. 
For Hummer left a fine bell rope, 
Which may be used, if such our luck. 
To noose our friend at Keokuk." 

Ruth A. Gallaher 

Comment by the Editor 


Many friends have helped us with encouragement 
and information, with suggestions as to the exist- 
ence of material, and with material itself. That this 
support is not entirely local is shown by the fact 
that two of our history fans — Mr. John P. Irish 
and Mr. August P. Eichter — are now residents of 
California. Nearer home is Mr. A. N. Harbert of 
Iowa City. For a generation he has been collecting 
books and pamphlets upon the history, the litera- 
ture, and the general interests of the State of Iowa. 
In particular he has searched far and wide for Iowa 
railroad material and probably has the largest pri- 
vate collection of such items in existence. He is 
planning a history of the railroads of the State and 
has secured data on hundreds of railroads, dead and 
alive, which have appeared on paper if not always 
on the prairies of Iowa. 

With the materials in his collection he has always 
been generous. The report of the pleading of 
Abraham Lincoln in the Rock Island Bridge Case, 
printed in this number, was loaned to the Society by 
him, and much of the material upon which the article 
on the First Mississippi Bridge was based was ob- 
tained through his kindness. A number of pam- 
phlets dealing with the bridge cases were tempo- 




rarily in the hands of Mr. Harbert, having been 
loaned by Mr. Henry W. Farnam of New Haven, a 
son of the president of the bridge company who 
supervised the constrnction of the bridge. 

Another collector of pamphlets — though long 
since dead — has given us assistance. James W. 
Grimes, Governor of Iowa from 1854 to 1858 and 
United States Senator from 1859 to 1869, gathered 
and preserved fugitive pamphlets on education, 
naval affairs, the Civil War, and railroads. Many 
are out of print and quite unobtainable. In this 
collection, now in the custody of the State Historical 
Society of Iowa, are a number of items which, dove- 
tailing into the Farnam collection, enable one to 
work out a rather consecutive story of the old bridge 
and its struggle for existence in the United States 


A word for the unappreciated pamphlet, the shirt 
sleeve publication that can not appear to advantage 
in society on the bookshelf, the bane of the librarian 
who curses it for its miscellanity and its slovenly 
appearance and finally in despair stows it away with 
its own and other kinds in a pamphlet box grave. 
It deserves a champion for it tells a story that is too 
short for a book and too long for a newspaper. Who 
can doubt the influence of the pamphleteers of the 
French Eevolution, the American Revolution, or the 
World War! Who can tell rightly the story of re- 



ligion without a consideration of the despised tract, 
of politics without the campaign literature, of busi- 
ness without the advertising circulars and the 
annual reports. 

Many events too slender for a book, and many 
separate phases of important movements, find ex- 
pression only in unbound pages, and often the gaps 
and disproportions of history are due to their dis- 
appearance. There is no decline of birth rate in 
pamphlet literature but the high mortality is a mat- 
ter to be viewed with some anxietv. 

J. C. P. 



Jpi^^^^ A^^ on Coni^ih . , 

.- '^ The Editor 


..Published Monthly At lowACiTir By 

-IflE State HMcAi SocieiyofIowa 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in June 1922 No. 6 


The Attack on Corinth 


It was the evening of the second day of October, 
1862, and the Iowa Brigade was tenting on the old 
camp ground'' near Corinth, Mississippi, after a 
brief but victorious campaign at luka. There was 
not a Confederate force within fifty miles of us, and 
probably not a Confederate soldier. So the wise 
folks told us, and so we fondly believed. In our regi- 
ment at least — the Sixteenth Iowa — there were to 
be no duties on the morrow, save a few absolutely 
necessary ones. Everybody was to rest and be 
happy. * ^Soldier rest was the watchword. With 
pleasant hallucinations we fell asleep. 

*^Get up! The long rolPs beating!" was the 
startling alarm at daylight next morning. 

We had heard the long roll at Shiloh, without 
knowing what it meant, but we found out its mean- 
ing on that bloody field. It was beating again. 



Fall in, men! Fall in! Fall in quick!'' shouted 
officers everywhere, and the drums beat the assem- 
bly on the color line. 

Every one jumped up, dressed in haste, belted on 
his cartridge box, grabbed his gun, and hastened to 
form line on the company parade ground. We then, 
with equal zeal, marched out and formed a regimen- 
tal line. It was not many minutes before the entire 
brigade was in line of battle, and stood ready for 
orders. In the distance, and far to the right, heavy 
skirmishing began. A courier dashed up with or- 
ders, and we promptly moved at quick time in the 
direction of the firing. The morning air was stimu- 
lating, and tinged with the breath of southern au- 
tumn. Bugles sounded near Corinth, which lay 
much to the rear of us, and before we had gone half 
a mile we heard the roar of artillery ahead — not 
steadily, but at intervals. All around us pealed the 
opening notes of a general engagement. There was 
to be fighting, without a doubt, and with the coolness 
of veterans we marched out to bear our part. 

In the preceding April, when we left Pittsburg 
Landing for the field of combat a few miles away, we 
cheered at the slightest provocation, sang war songs, 
and generally made an uproar. Now we marched in 
silence. Not a sound was heard save our stead}^ 
tramp and the clink of bayonets. We had been at 
the front many months and knew that fighting was 
not a picnic. No school-boy bravado was indulged 
in. In its place was the business-like readiness for 


battle characteristic of trained soldiers. Our course 
lay through a heavily timbered region destitute of 
undergrowth; and the trees were in gorgeous au- 
tumn regalia. When we had gone about two miles, 
firing ceased. As we saw no other troops, nor any 
signs of an enemy, an impression prevailed that 
only a band of guerrillas had collided with the picket 
line and been repulsed. We reached an earth fort 
that contained no guns or garrison. It was a part of 
Halleck's deserted, unused, and useless line of cir- 
eumvallation that would have needed a hundred 
thousand men to hold — at least, to occupy. 

Here we stacked arms and awaited an explanation 
of so serious a morning alarm. Our regiment formed 
immediately behind the fort. The other three regi- 
Qients aligned a little to the rear of us. An artillery 
company soon joined us with four fieldpieces. One 
^n was wheeled into the fort and its muzzle pushed 
through an embrasure. Owing to the woods and 
iills we could see no troops in any direction, either 
Priend or foe. We decided finally that we had been 
victimized by one of those sudden alarms that are 
jommon in war. All regiments stacked arms, and 
vord was sent back to camp for the cooks to boil 
ioif ee and bring it out to us. After a long wait they 
irrived, their capacious kettles swung on poles in 
[Chinese fashion. We had just filled our cups and 
commenced to quaff the amber beverage when a 
irash of musketry a mile or so to the front con- 
dnced us that we had come on no idle mission. Soon 



afterwards a cavalryman rode in rapidly, with 
dispatches for headquarters, and hastily told us the 
news. A very large Confederate army was in mo- 
tion — larger than Albert Sidney Johnston had had 
at Shiloh — and hot work could be expected. A Wis- 
consin battalion of six hundred men had been at- 
tacked the previous evening at a railroad station 
called Chewalla, and was then fighting in the woods, 
but before long would be driven over the intervening 
country toward us. 

' ' Fall in ! Take- Arms ! Load at will — Load ! ' ' 
were commands quickly given, and we drove down 
Minie balls for the advancing host. 

Nevertheless we stacked arms again, drank our 
coffee, and made as good a breakfast as we could. 
Charley Harl, our company cook, swore that he 
boiled coffee only in times of peace. He carried his 
kettles back to camp, returned with a musket, and 
before evening received a mortal wound. After 
listening to the firing a while we had orders to 
change position.^ We left the fort and drew up on 
the brow of a heavily timbered hill, more directly in 

1 According to the reports of General Crocker, who was in charge 
of the brigade, and of the commanding officers of the regiments, the 
Eleventh and Thirteenth Iowa Infantry regiments formed in line 
first, supported by the Fifteenth and Sixteenth. In this formation 
the forenoon passed with only desultory fighting. In the afternoon 
the Fifteenth and Sixteenth took the position in the front line and 
these troops then received the desperate assault of the enemy. — War 
of the Eehellion: Official Eecords, Series I, Pt. II, pp. 359, 364, 365, 
366.— The Editor. 


the path of the incoming army. No works of any 
kind gave shelter and we built none. The Fifteenth 
and Sixteenth Iowa formed side by side, and after- 
wards fought the Confederates in that order. Com- 
manding the Fifteenth that day was Major Belknap, 
afterwards a brigadier-general, and still afterwards 
Secretary of War under President Grant.^ The 
Sixteenth was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 
Add. H. Sanders, afterwards colonel and brigadier, 
who was severely wounded in this battle. Extra 
ammunition was dealt out to us, each man having 
sixty rounds in all. 

The Eleventh and Thirteenth Iowa formed in line 
about fifty yards to the rear of us. The battery was 
ordered to Corinth, and started at once. In front of 
the right wing of our regiment was a complete camp 
— tents, baggage and all — but the troops it be- 
longed to were gone. They had been moved out 
somewhere to meet the enemy. Not even a guard 
was left behind. It must have been ten o 'clock when 
deadly fighting commenced directly in front of us — 
over in the timber.^ The greater part of the firing 
we had heard up to this time had been by heavy 
skirmish lines, but now two lines of battle joined 
issue, and the terrible roar of musketry pealed 
through the woods. Till we heard it we had thought 

2 William W. Belknap had been promoted from major to lieutenant 
colonel on August 1, 1862. — Boster and Becord of Iowa Soldiers, 
Vol. II, p. 895.— The Editor. 

3 See note 1. — The Editor. 



our brigade was tlie only considerable body of troops 
in that immediate environ, and that only pickets and 
skirmishers were scattered along our front. Some 
other regiment was trying to hold the Chewalla road 
— probably the one whose deserted camp we saw — 
and was being roughly handled by the enemy. 

We were close enough to hear the combat well, 
but not close enough to see it. Eidges and woods 
obstructed the view. We could see smoke floating in 
the timber, and in partial lulls of the firing could 
hear the excited commands of officers. The Union 
troops fought hard, but being greatly outnumbered, 
fought in vain. It seemed nonsense to have them 
there at all. A few heavy explosions of musketry 
broke on the air, in quick succession. Then followed 
victorious cheers that rang on the morning air with 
wonderful clearness. The Union troops fled in con- 
fusion toward us, the pickets and skirmishers near 
by joining in the stampede. The enemy followed a 
short distance, firing and yelling like Indians. 

All this time we could see nothing for the ridges 
and timber, but we could hear so distinctly that we 
needed no information. The fugitives poured into 
view like scattered sheep, and reaching our line 
rushed on to the rear, scores of them being bloody 
from wounds. Ambulances hurried by, filled and 
crowded with wounded men, whose cries of suffering 
and groans of agony it was distressing to hear. Be- 
yond, at intervals, rose the clear, wild cheers of the 


Then a death like silence ensued. Not a skirmish 
line was now between ns and the enemy. We knew 
that preparations must be going on to attack us, 
and to stand idly there awaiting the onset was a try- 
ing ordeal — a test of manhood keener than fighting. 
If I had been richer than Croesus, I would have giv- 
en a liberal part of my wealth had it not been my 
duty to be there. While we waited with intense in- 
terest and much anxiety the next move in what was 
to us a momentous drama, an appalling burst of 
martial thunder came from a locality a mile or more 
to the right of us. Musketry and artillery mingled 
in one awful and prolonged peal. It was not an 
affair of a regiment or two, but seemed like the colli- 
sion of two heavy lines of battle, and the roar was 
incessant as long as I was conscious of listening to 
it. Our thoughts, however, were almost immedi- 
ately concentrated on events in front of us. We 
were watching the opposite hillside. Bullets began 
to cut the air from the rifles of unseen marksmen. 
A little later a long line of rebel skirmishers came 
into view, and without haste, and yet without hesita- 
tion, marched silently toward us. 

Don't fire on those men — they're not rebels'', 
some one shouted. (Many of them wore portions of 
our uniform.) 

Before this could be contradicted a Confederate 
brigade appeared, moving in splendid order. At this 
delicate juncture word came for our brigade to 
march to Corinth. It was too late for all to go. 



without danger of disaster, and tlie two rear regi- 
ments marched from the field, and the Fifteenth and 
Sixteenth remained to check the enemy. While the 
Confederate line was moving down the opposite hill- 
side in battle's magnificently stem array another 
hostile brigade appeared, considerably to the rear of 
the first one. Both marched at common time, in 
perfect silence, preserving faultless lines. In spite 
of the great excitement I was under, I admired the 
soldierly conduct of these troops. It would be im- 
possible for infantry to march to battle in finer order 
or with firmer mien. On reaching the base of the 
hill, they marched up the slope toward us. The 
skirmishers in front of them entered the regimental 
camp I have spoken of, and began throwing down 
the Sibley tents that the line of battle might march 
over the ground without being disarranged. 

We might have killed many of these skirmishers, 
for the tents nearest to us were not more than thirty 
yards distant, but as we desired the tents down also, 
we allowed the work to proceed undisturbed, and 
permitted the skirmishers to retire when the task 
was finished. When the tents were all flat on the 
ground, however, and the enemy was boldly moving 
in plain sight straight at us, and each moment was 
getting nearer, officers had extreme difficulty in 
keeping the men from opening fire. We had been 
ordered not to fire till the lieutenant-colonel gave 
the word, and it seemed that the word would never 
be given. Captains and lieutenants walked up and 


down the front of their companies, sword in hand, 
striking np muskets that were being brought to a 
level by nervously impatient soldiers. 

At length the front Confederate line was within 
fifty or sixty paces of us, and with perfect distinct- 
ness we saw the men of that line cock their muskets 
to fire. Ours were already cocked. We took deliber- 
ate aim, and with a crash we fired. That volley told 
with effect on the enemy. It was scarcely a moment 
before an answering volley hurled bullets among us. 
The Fifteenth Iowa fired at about the same time, and 
the battle opened with fury ; but it was less trying to 
fight than to stand like statues waiting for the fray 
to begin. In a moment a wall of dust and smoke 
arose in front of us, and hid the enemy from view. 

In our first battle we had sought shelter, as far as 
possible, behind trees and obstacles. On this occa- 
sion the result of incessant drilling we had gone 
through was apparent. A few men fought on one 
knee, but not a man lay down, and the great majority 
stood erect on the color line, and loaded and fired in 
drill-ground fashion. Habit is second nature. Men 
hit while fighting erect are less liable to have fatal 
wounds, than if struck while fighting on one knee. 
Once, while standing erect, I turned my left side to 
the enemy, to drive down a musket ball. The next 
instant a big bullet passed through my left panta- 
loons pocket, where I carried a package of ten 
rounds of ammunition. It tore the paper cartridges 
to pieces, but I was unhurt. Had I been facing 


squarely to the front I would have had a mortal 

After we had been fighting awhile a gust of air 
partly blew the smoke aside, and we saw that the 
enemy's line was not in perfect order, but the second 
line came up and more than restored the tide of 
battle. As we fought at remarkably short range, 
many of us rammed down two Minie balls with each 
load of powder. There was little chance of taking 
exact aim, beyond calculating what would probably 
be too high or too low to hit a man, and under the cir- 
cumstances two bullets were better than one. The 
direct attack of the enemy had been really checked, 
but flank firing opened on us, and indications ap- 
peared that an attempt would be made to capture us. 
Both regiments receded in slight disorder, falling 
back fifty or sixty yards or so. We couldn't whip 
the whole of Price's army. 

The command was then given to cease firing, and 
a new and perfect line was formed. The enemy 
ceased firing also, and with ^^arms at a shoulder" 
we again silently tendered battle. For some reason 
the mute challenge was not accepted, no advance to- 
ward us was attempted, nor did skirmishers even 
annoy us with desultory shots. The fray being ap- 
parently over, for a time at least, and the sound of 
fighting elsewhere having almost ceased, we again 
had orders to march to Corinth. We moved off the 
field at common time, in perfect order, and so far as 
we could see, no one pursued us. Our dead we left, 


and a very few of our wounded were captured, but 
fell into our hands two days afterwards. The other 
two regiments had marched out of sight. We saw 
no soldiers anywhere, friend or foe. 

Retreating to town displeased us, for we knew 
nothing of the military situation. We had wondered 
greatly that half the brigade, and the battery, 
should be ordered away just before the action com- 
menced. Reinforcements, we thought, should rather 
have reached us. We know that fighting had ceased 
everywhere; we had fears of disaster, and many 
believed our forces were hastily deserting Corinth. 
Utter disgust was expressed, and even rage, and I 
heard several officers prophesy that we would be on 
the road to Pittsburg Landing before nightfall. We 
had no definite ideas concerning the number of 
Union troops in Corinth and around it, nor did we 
even know what general was in chief command. 
Most of us thought Grant was. Concerning every- 
thing important we seemed to be in the dark com- 
pletely. The army was falling back unnecessarily, 
we thought, and without a proper struggle. A catas- 
trophe somewhere else in the country was the gen- 
eral explanation. 

^^Buell's been cleaned out in Kentucky*', our sec- 
ond lieutenant said. Gloomy apprehensions pre- 

For several miles we marched in silence through 
the woods, the occasional roar of artillery indicating 
that resistance to the enemy had not wholly ceased. 



Suddenly, as we came to the verge of a timbered 
ridge, a thrilling spectacle burst into view. From 
that point to town the trees had been freshly cut 
away, and were lying as they fell, the long boughs 
being lopped off and strewn on the ground. On a 
hill crest opposite us was a newly built earth fort, 
and high over its ramparts a large and beautiful 
garrison flag waved — *^01d Glory in richest at- 
tire, tossing its folds in defiance of the foe. We 
burst into cheers, hailing the scene as evidence that 
the battle had not been lost but had only begun. 

The sight awoke enthusiasm. , As we came nearer 
town we saw that a semi-circle of earth forts had 
been hastily reared, and mounted with heavy siege 
guns that commanded all approaches. The gleam of 
arms could be seen in every direction as troops 
poured into the fortified semi-circle and aligned at 
their designated stations. Instead of consternation 
and retreat we beheld order, and formidable prepa- 
rations for the foe. General Eosecrans rode up to 
meet us, and we greeted him with tumultuous cheers. 
In a brief address he promised us victory on the 
morrow, a promise that was gloriously fulfilled. 

Our regiment was immediately assigned to sup- 
port the Fifth Ohio Battery, on the extreme left 
wing of the army. "Without halting a moment we 
marched to our place. Supporting a battery is not 
always child's play. On the field of Shiloh we saw 
a captured Confederate battery where every can- 
ijonier was killed ^nd every horse l^illed or WQunded, 



At luka the Sixteenth Iowa supported the Eleventh 
Ohio Battery. Van Dorn's Texan Legion took its 
guns twice, and made a third attempt to take them, 
but failed. Without assistance from other troops the 
Sixteenth took them back each time, and held them 
at last, winning the highest honors of the battle. 
Three guns were spiked by the enemy, and two were 
dragged some distance away, but were dragged back 
again. All the battery horses were killed or wound- 
ed, and of an artillery company of eighty men, only 
eight men escaped wounds or death. 

The dangers of a mounted officer exceed those of 
a soldier. In two battles inside of fifteen days, 
every field officer of our regiment had been killed or 
wounded. Lawrence, our splendid young adjutant, 
had been killed, and our colonel, lieutenant-colonel 
and major wounded. The colonel had been sent 
north, Lieutenant-Colonel Sanders was in a hospital, 
and Major William Purcell (of Muscatine), despite 
a troublesome wound (his second in the war), as- 
sumed command of the regiment. 

While we had been fighting on the Chewalla road, 
our tents, baggage, and equipment had been hauled 
to town, and at nightfall the enemy's troops slept on 
our old camp ground — the ^^fortunes of war''. 



Early in the morning of the second day the rush of 
Confederate shells and their explosions awoke us. 



It was barely daylight. History says it was three 
o^clock. A field battery in the edge of the woods, 
about two hundred yards to the front of Eobinett, 
opened a cannonade, and one of the forts replied. 
The southern guns were hastily dragged into the 
woods, and one was captured. Drums rolled and 
bugles sounded. We belted and got into line. In the 
woods opposite us a cloud of Confederate sharp- ^ 
shooters deployed. Crouching behind logs, stumps, 
and trees, they began blazing away at everything 
and everybody. Similar operations ensued no doubt 
all along the front of the army. We should have 
made rifle-pits the previous evening, but did not do 
so. Our line of battle stretched from one fort to the 
other, without defenses. A remarkable circum- 
stance of this battle was that the Union troops faced 
to the north and the Confederate troops to the south. 

At the extreme left of the Union line was Fort 
Phillips. Our regiment was on a low hill immedi- 
ately to the left of it, supporting the Fifth Ohio 
Battery. The next fort to the right of Phillips was 
Eobinett, which played a memorable part that day. 
It was not more than five hundred yards from us, 
and we could look across and see everything that 
took place inside of it, and could also see a part of 
the ground in front of it. This gave us opportunity, 
in due time, to view a more thrilling combat than 
ever took place in the gladiatorial arena of Rome. 

The Confederate sharpshooters gave us much 
trouble. The Ohio battery opened on them finally. 


but they treated the cannonade with contempt, 
wounded a few cannoniers, and dismounted the 
captain by killing his splendid war steed. A heavy 
detail was promptly made, and a considerable num- 
ber of men scattered in the fallen timber at the front, 
and opened on the sharpshooters. I happened to be 
one of this party. We improved matters consider- 
ably, and a Confederate battery tried to drive us out 
with grape and canister. Fort Phillips intervened 
with twenty-pound shells and drove the battery into 
the woods. Thus hot skirmishing went on in differ- 
ent fashions all day long. At most localities it was 
not very far from one line to the other. 

On battle days, where one excitement follows an- 
other in swift succession, time moves with rapid 
pace. On the extreme right of the Union army, 
movements of importance began. The Union forts 
and batteries in that quarter opened with fury. We 
had seldom heard such a cannonade, and knew that 
something startling was in progress. Clouds of 
smoke rose thickly above the firing, and ere long a 
frightful crash of musketry denoted that infantry 
had engaged. Our whole line in that quarter had 
fired a volley, which was immediately followed by 
the smooth roar of steady fighting. The enemy's 
troops had come out of the woods in a huge column 
shaped like a wedge. Under a fearful artillery fire 
they advanced in the most intrepid manner. Mis- 
siles tore through the ranks with hideous effect. 
Grape, canister, musketry — nothing stopped the 
storming column. 



At the first shock eight or ten Union regiments 
broke and fled ; Fort Eichardson was taken, and Con- 
federate soldiers entered the very tent of Rosecrans 
— but he was not there. At the head of his staff he 
had galloped among the fugitives, and brought them 
to a halt. At this critical moment the Fifty-sixth 
Illinois Infantry charged the enemy, fired a deadly 
volley at close quarters, and then used the bayonet 
till Fort Richardson was retaken and had opened its 
guns on the foe. Led by Rosecrans the rallied regi- 
ments hurried to the line, and then the whole Union 
right wing charged with thrilling cheers, driving the 
enemy, in panic and confusion, into the woods. 

The enemy's plan had been for Van Dorn to as- 
sault Robinett at the same time that Price delivered 
his tremendous blow at our right wing. For some 
reason Van Dorn was not ready, and Price was 
hurled back with slaughter. Soon afterwards a 
storming column of four or five thousand men moved 
on Robinett. Colonel Rogers of Texas had the peril- 
ous honor of leading. From our station on the 
skirmish line we saw the charge — one of the most 
heroic affairs of the Civil War. With defiant yells 
the Confederates came out of the woods on the 
double-quick. Mounted on a powerful steed Rogers 
rode at their head, waving the lone star flag of 
Texas. Fallen timber everywhere rendered perfect 
lines impossible, and the column was soon somewhat 
disordered, but this proved immaterial. Rogers 
rode rapidly along a highway that led to the fort, 


and his men followed closely, some in the road and 
others leaping over fallen trees and rubbish, intent 
on victory at any cost. The sharpshooters of the 
enemy quit firing, and stood on stumps and logs to 
watch the charge, and we on the skirmish line did 

The moment the column came into full view, it was 
swept with terrible effect by the heavy guns of 
Robinett. Fort Phillips also opened, and each mo- 
ment some additional fort or battery tried to train 
guns on the stormers. Smoke, dust, and the explo- 
sion of shells more or less concealed the column 
from view, but we could see that the storm of death 
was disregarded. The ground was strewn with dead 
and dying, but Eogers rode undaunted, and not one 
of the stormers faltered. Death or victory was their 
evident intention. We could see every move in and 
around the fort. Not a man left his post. The can- 
noniers loaded and fired to the last moment, then 
snatched up muskets and fought as infantry. Rogers 
reached the ditch of the fort, tossed his banner to a 
soldier, who planted it on the work. It waved there 
a moment and fell. Rogers fell also. The last can- 
non fired killed him and blew his horse to pieces. 

On either side the fort Union infantry fought 
fiercely, and one regiment half -wheeled and enfiladed 
the front of the fort. The Confederates recoiled and 
crouched to the ground, but supporting troops came 
yelling to the rescue, brandishing arms and rushing 
to the charge. Blue and gray closed in a death 
struggle, and the fighting was brutal. The Sixty- 



third Ohio stood next to the fort, on the right, and 
lost half its men in a few moments, but never gave 
up an inch of ground. The Confederates staggered 
back, stood irresolute, and then turned to fly. The 
cannoniers sprang to their guns, and, double-loading 
them, filled the air with missiles. The ditch of the 
fort was piled level with dead, and fugitives, throw- 
ing themselves among fallen timber, waved their 
hats for quarter. Firing ceased, and many prison- 
ers were taken. Of the entire storming column, not 
five hundred got back to the woods. The rest were 
killed, wounded, or captured. Most were killed or 
wounded. A down-east historian says that ^*more 
than two hundred Confederates fell in this frightful 
assault". Not less than a thousand were killed in 
front of Eobinett. The body of Colonel Eogers was 
given separate and honorable burial. A board was 
placed at his grave on which was inscribed his name 
and rank, and his fame filled both armies. No man 
ever led a forlorn hope with greater courage. 

People who rave over the horrors of war'*, and 
view soldiers with aversion, will find in the ferocity 
of the fighting at Corinth an object lesson for their 
teachings. Let us bear in mind, however, that if the 
armies of the North had been beaten in the Civil 
War, human slavery would have spread over the 
greater part of the western hemisphere, if not over 
the greater part of the world. This is to say nothing 
of the dissolution of the Union. To avert such 
calamities was worth all the blood it cost. 


War would be glorious perhaps, if a soldier 
always won, and passed through dangers unharmed. 
How it feels to be on the other side of a ^'glorious'' 
affair is seldom told by historians. An Alabama 
officer who took part in that desperate assault on 
Fort Eobinett, and survived, and who kept a private 
journal, wrote out his experience that evening, with 
everything fresh in his mind. His vivid recital 
found its Avay into a Northern newspaper, probably 
with his consent. He thus portrayed the charge : 

Saturday , October 4 — Eventful day! At four 
o 'clock this morning our brigade was ordered to the 
left about a quarter of a mile, and halted. We de- 
ployed a skirmish line that kept up a constant fire on 
the enemy. A Confederate battery in front of the 
right wing of our regiment opened briskly, and the 
enemy replied in the same manner. The cannon- 
ading was heavy for an hour and a half. Our regi- 
ment laid down on the ground, and bore the fire 
nobly. The shells flew thick and fast, cutting otf 
large limbs from the trees, and filling the air with 
iron fragments. Many shells burst within twenty 
feet of me. It was extremely unpleasant, and I 
prayed for forgiveness of my sins, and made up my 
mind to go through the tempest. 

*^Col. Sawyer called for volunteers to assist the 
Second Texas skirmishers. I volunteered and took 
my company. Captain Perkins and Lieutenant 
Munson being taken sick directly after the severe 
bombardment, I led the company all the time. I 



went skirmisliiiig at 7 :30 a. m. and returned at 9 :30. 
Four of Captain Foster men were killed, but none 
of mine. The enemy fired very fast. We got behind 
trees and logs, and the way bullets did fly was un- 
pleasant indeed. I think twenty must have passed 
within a few feet of me, humming busily. Shells 
tore off large limbs, and splinters struck my tree 
several times. We could only move from tree to 
tree by crouching close to the ground. Oh! how 
anxiously I watched for the bursting of shells when 
the heavy roar proclaimed their coming. 

**At 9:30 I had my skirmishers relieved by Cap- 
tain Bouser^s company. I sent my men to their 
places, and went behind a log with Major Furger. 
At ten o'clock the fight opened in earnest, on our 
right. In a few moments the left went into action, 
in splendid style, under Price. At 10:15 Colonel 
Eogers of Texas rode by, merely saying: ^Alabama 
forces. ' Our regiment, with the rest of the brigade, 
then rose, unmindful of shot and shell, and moved 
forward about two hundred and fifty yards and, 
rising the crest of the hill, the whole of Corinth, 
with its enormous fortifications, burst upon our 
view. The United States flag was floating over the 
forts and over the town. 

*^We were now met by a perfect storm of grape 
and canister, cannon shot and Minie balls. 0, God ! 
I never saw the like. The men fell like grass. Giv- 
ing one tremendous cheer, we dashed to the bottom 
of the hill on which the fort was situated. Here we 


found every foot of ground strewn with large trees 
and brush. Looking to the right and left I saw 
several brigades charging at the same time. What 
a sight ! I saw men who were running at full speed 
stop suddenly, and fall on their faces, with their 
brains scattered all around; others with their legs 
or arms cut off. I gave myself to God, and got in 
front of my company. The ground was literally 
strewed with mangled corpses. One ball passed 
through my pants and another cut twigs close to me. 
It seemed that by holding out my hand I could have 
caught a dozen bullets. 

*^We pushed forward, nevertheless, charging, as 
it were, into the mouths of cannon. I rushed to the 
ditch of the fort and jumped into it, and climbed 
half way up the sloping wall. The Yankees were 
only two or three feet from me on the other side, 
but could not shoot me for fear of being shot them- 
selves. Our men were in the same predicament. 
There were five or six on the wall, and thirty or forty 
in and around the ditch. Catesby, my companion, 
was on the wall beside me. A man mthin two feet 
of me put his head cautiously up to shoot into the 
fort, but suddenly dropped his musket, and his 
brains were dashed in a stream over my fine coat, 
which I had in my arms. Several men were killed, 
and rolled down the embankment. [A Union regi- 
ment next to the fort had made a right half -wheel, 
and thus enfiladed the front of the fort.] Some of 
pur men oried *put dowji the flag'^ whereon it was 



lowered or shot into the ditch. Oh ! we were butch- 
ered like dogs, for we were not supported. 

**Some one placed a white handkerchief on Ser- 
geant Buck's musket, and he took it to a port hole, 
but the Yankees snatched it off and took him prison- 
er. The men were falling ten at a time. The ditch 
being full, and finding that we had no chance, we, 
the survivors, tried to save ourselves as best we 
could. I was so far up I could not get off quickly. 
I do not recollect seeing Catesby after this, but think 
he got off before. I trust in God he did. I and 
Captain Foster started together, and the air was 
literally filled with hissing balls. I got about twenty 
steps as quick as I could, about a dozen men being 
killed in that distance. I fell down and crawled 
behind a large stump. J ust then I saw poor Foster 
throw up his hands, and, saying *0h! my God!* he 
jumped about two feet off the ground and fell on 
his face. The top of his head seemed to cave in, and 
blood spurted straight up several feet. I could see 
men falling as they attempted to run, some with 
their heads blown to pieces, and others with the 
blood streaming down their backs. Oh ! it was hor- 
rible. One poor fellow, being almost on me, told me 
his name, and asked me to take his pocket book, and 
if I escaped, to give it to his mother, and to tell her 
that he died like a brave man. I asked him if he was 
a Christian. He said he was. I asked him to pray, 
which he did with the cannons thundering a deadly 
accompaniment. Poor fellow ! I forgot his request 


in subsequent excitement. His legs were literally 
cut to pieces. As our men retreated the enemy 
poured into us a terrific fire. I was hardly thirty 
feet from the mouths of the cannons. Minie balls 
filled the stump I was behind, and shells burst within 
three or four feet of me. One was so close that it 
burnt my face with powder. Grape-shot knocked 
large pieces from my stump, gradually wearing it 
away. I endured the horrors of death for one half 
hour. Fresh Confederate troops advanced with 
cheers to storm the fort, but began firing when half 
way up, and I found myself under the fire of both 
sides. In the first charge our men did not fire a shot, 
but charged across the ditch and up to the mouths of 
the cannon. The men of this second line were shot 
down like hogs. They could not stand the storms 
that came from the Yankee 's thundering guns. They 
had no chance whatever. All around me were sur- 
rendering. I could do no better than follow suit, 
but, thank God, I am unhurt. Nothing but a merci- 
ful Providence saved me. ' ' 

Cheers of triumph and defiance rolled along the 
Union lines, and rang from every fort and regiment. 
The most reckless endeavors of the foe had been 
foiled, and thousands of prisoners had been taken. 
At daylight next morning, we started in headlong 
chase of Price 's army. 

Clint Pakkhukst 

A Letter 

[The following letter is printed from the original which was loaned 
to the Society by Mr. W. T. Whitney of Waterloo, to whom it was 
written. It is of interest not only because of the writer, Mr. Theo- 
dore N. Vail, late president of the American Telephone and Telegraph 
Company, but also because of its reference to the late ' ' Pop ' ' Anson 
who did his early ball playing on an Iowa team. — The Editor] 

Jany 1, 1917 
Jekyl Island Club, 
Brunswick, Georgia. 

Dear Mr Whitney 

How glad I am to hear from you. I often think 
of you and the old talks we used to have, for you 
were a philosopher and had an uncommon sensible 
grip on the realities of life, some of which I hope I 

From what you say you are just 10 years older 
than I am — I am 71 will be 72 this year in July. 
Waterloo was a curious dividing point in my life — 
just 21 when I went there — think of it 51 years 
coming March next. Sometimes as I look back I 
wish I had stayed in Waterloo and taken my chances 
there. Not that I have any reason to complain for 
my life has been busy and I have done my share of 
work, but when you get to a point where responsi- 
bility is loaded on you, and you are really consci- 
entious about it, it makes you feel tired sometimes, 
and you wish you could shut down your office desk 



lock your official door & just take a real rest once in 
a while. 

I knew Dorsey very well; he was Senator from 
Arkansas when I was in the P. 0. D. but never had 
any relations except official ones with him. I think 
probably you have heard of my relation with Gen- 
eral Brady w^ho was 2nd asst P. M. G. when I was 
in Washington & was brought into the P. 0. scandal 
**Star Eoute'' along with Dorsey. One of the most 
dastardly political acts ever perpetrated — but that 
is neither here nor there. Brady was in the Dept & 
after I went into the telephone loaned me 50000 to 
buy & carry some telephone stock — on shares, and 
both of us made money. Years after when they 
commenced to prosecute him he was broken in pock- 
et, and because I loaned him money to defend him- 
self their attorneys used to say that I must have 
been one of them but they never went so far as 
making any public accusation. 

Dorsey w^as on trial at the same time with Brady 
& Ingersoll was their attorney. Some one told me 
the other day that Dorsey was still alive. 

I am somewhat broken up this winter myself. 
Have had a very strenuous year. I hope some day 
it will be my good fortune to see you again, for there 
are few, if any, of those I knew when young that I 
think of oftener or more pleasantly than of you. Do 
you remember that on that Marshalltown trip Anson 
afterwards the famous baseball player was Captain 
of the team (Marshalltown). I have often wondered 



if I would have become famous as he if I had stuck 
to baseball. I saw Miller at Los Angeles last year. 
You remember he was in the team and so was Mul- 
lan, after whose father, I suppose the street you live 
on was named. Good luck to you 

Theo N. Vail 

Comment by the Editor 


Within the last month we have had the pleasure 
of listening to and talking with two men who have 
portrayed in fiction the Iowa of an earlier day — 
Hamlin Garland and Herbert Quick. Each has seen 
with his own eyes the breaking of the original prai- 
ries and even had a part in the process ; and each is 
stirred with the glory of the beauty of that life that 
passed with the coming of the plow. 

They are temperamentally different — these two 
men — but each writes faithfully of the thing as he 
sees it. hate a cow!^^ says Hamlin Garland with 
feeling, and the cinnamon hog'' to him is anath- 
ema. Herbert Quick, however, is more sympathetic. 
In VandemarJc's Folly he writes : 

**Any stockman knows that a cow is a beast of 
very high nervous organization, but she has no very 
large number of ways of telling us how she feels: 
just a few tones to her lowing, a few changes of ex- 
pression to her eye, a small number of shades of un- 
easiness, a little manner with her eyes, showing the 
whites when troubled or letting the lids droop in 
satisfaction — these things exhausted, and poor 
bossy's tale is told.'' 

But when Garland forgets these tame animals he 
has known and reverts to the wilder animals and the 




untamed prairie, the beauty and sympathy of his 
descriptions are scarcely to be excelled. Witness 
these sentences from A Son of the Middle Border: 
Nothing could be more generous, more joyous, 
than these natural meadows in summer. The flash 
and ripple and glimmer of the tall sunflowers, the 
myriad voices of gleeful bobolinks, the chirp and 
gurgle of red-winged blackbirds swaying on the wil- 
lows, the meadow-larks piping from grassy bogs, 
the peep of the prairie chick and the wailing call of 
plover on the flowery green slopes of the uplands 
made it all an ecstatic world to me. It was a wide 
world with a big, big sky which gave alluring hint of 
the still more glorious unknown wilderness beyond. * ' 

Into these meadows came the breaking plow and 
Garland writes of the results with keen emotion : 

^^At last the wide * quarter section' lay upturned, 
black to the sun and the garden that had bloomed 
and fruited for millions of years, waiting for man, 
lay torn and ravaged. The tender plants, the sweet 
flowers, the fragrant fruits, the busy insects, all the 
swarming lives which had been native here for un- 
told centuries were utterly destroyed. It was sad 
and yet it was not all loss, even to my thinking, for 
I realized that over this desolation the green wheat 
would wave.'' 

And Herbert Quick, who laments the prairie as 
vanished forever, is stirred by the same deep appre- 
ciation of the beauty of the original Iowa country. 
Putting his own ideas into the thoughts of young 
Jacob Vandemark as he first looked out upon the 


prairies of northeastern Iowa in the fifties, he says : 
shall never forget the sight. It was like a 
great green sea. The old growth had been burned 
the fall before, and the spring grass scarcely con- 
cealed the brown sod on the uplands; but all the 
swales were coated thick with an emerald growth 
full-bite high, and in the deeper, wetter hollows 
grew cowslips, already showing their glossy, golden 
flowers. The hillsides were thick with the woolly 
possblummies in their furry spring coats protecting 
them against the frost and chill, showing purple- 
violet on the outside of a cup filled with golden sta- 
mens, the first fruits of the prairie flowers; on the 
warmer southern slopes a few of the splendid bird's- 
foot violets of the prairie were showing the azure 
color which would soon make some of the hillsides as 
blue as the sky; and standing higher than the peer- 
ing grass rose the rough-leafed stalks of green which 
would soon show us the yellow puccoons and sweet- 
williams and scarlet lilies and shooting stars, and 
later the yellow rosin-weeds, Indian dye-flower and 
goldenrod. The keen northwest wind swept before 
it a flock of white clouds ; and under the clouds went 
their shadows, walking over the lovely hills like 
dark ships over an emerald sea.'' 

The ancient prairie, so real and wonderful to the 
first comers, has vanished, and with its passing have 
gone much that was wild and picturesque and beau- 
tiful, and also much that was a source of dread and 
anxiety. The buffalo and the bear were not alien to 
the Iowa country but their real home was farther 



west and they can hardly be said to have waited for 
the coming of the settler. The deer, however, lin- 
gered in the land between the rivers and for many 
years the prairie chicken let the frontier slip past 
and the prairie wolf skulked reluctantly away from 
the advancing hordes of his enemies. 

The loneliness of the wide prairies, away from the 
streams, for a time kept them unmolested but stout 
hearted pioneers ventured out upon the sea of wav- 
ing grass and turned the prairie sod. And when the 
plow had laid out its black acres the prairie fire, 
with its fantastic and awful beauty, no longer found 
fuel for its devastating SAveep. Even the pitiless 
blizzard lost many of its terrors when fences and 
windbreaks and frequent habitations spread over 
the land. 

People and more people came, by wagon and 
finally by railroad, and acre by acre the primitive 
gave way. Yet here and there fragments of the 
prairie foliage still remain. Curiously enough the 
very factor that helped the invasion of the prairie 
land and made possible its widespread conquest is 
the one that has preserved these relics of the strug- 
gle ; for the original flowers and sod of the old Iowa 
prairie, like prisoners of war, are to be found along 
the right of way of the older railroads. 


Eecently we rode across a part of Iowa on a glo- 
rious sunny morning, when the landscape had been 


"freshly washed by a rain of the day before. The 
I alternation of green and brown fields stretched wide 
j under the blue sky. The corn was just creeping up 
I into the sunlight. Here and there oak groves with 
I wild flowers growing in the shade beneath whirled 
I past us ; and off toward the horizon the darker green 

of a strip of wood turned to a bluish haze where it 

met the sky. 

The little towns and the clusters of farm buildings 
I were but incidental to the general scheme of nature. 
! The roads and fences did not so much interrupt as 
tie the whole scene together. True, one might see 
; anywhere, surrounded by small round-bellied pigs, 
j the cinnamon hog'', couchant upon a field of drab, 
but if one did not care for this particular heraldic 
design he could find a more idyllic pastoral scene in 
the next field where sheep grazed in the company of 
little wabble-legged lambs. Nor could one fail to 
note that the neighboring fence posts were sur- 
mounted by swamp blackbirds, gorgeous in their red 
and black livery, and by meadow larks warbling 
their happy hearts out as freely as did their ances- 
tors on the swaying weeds of the unbroken prairie. 

After all the changes have perhaps not been so 
great. Time will never change the arch of blue sky, 
nor will the cloud shadows that Vandemark observed 
cease to ride across the hills. The passing years can 
have little effect upon the winding streams and the 
smooth undulations of the landscape. And doubtless 
our children 's children as they ride across Iowa will 



still be able to watch the sunlight dance upon the 
rippling leaves of oak groves, while meadow larks 
and red-winged blackbirds sing the same song from 
the fence posts, and the wild flowers and grasses of 
the right of way whirl by in a riot of profusion and 
color — faithful reminders of the old time Iowa 

J. C. P. 

Liquor ^nd the Indians 201 

■ 1^ ! S-'-^-^W^ ^- W ri 

I'he llandckrt Expeditions 2 i 4 

tlie Passiiig of a Slave 227 

Comment 23 1 

\ The Editor . . 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina^ 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 

.' 1. Superintendent 


In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which on^ or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The state Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in July 1922 No. 7 


Liquor and the Indians 

Nearly three hundred years ago a Jesuit priest of 
Canada — Father Le J eune — wrote to his superior 
about the sale of liquor to the Indians. His com- 
ments, which follow, appeared in the Jesuit Rela- 
tions for 1637 in a discussion of the increasing death 
rate of the red men : 

It is attributed to the beverages of brandy and wine, 
which they love with an utterly unrestrained passion, not 
for the relish they experience in drinking them, but for the 
pleasure they find in becoming drunk. They imagine in 
their drunkenness that they are listened to with attention, 
that they are great orators, that they are valiant and for- 
midable, that they are looked up to as Chiefs, hence this 
folly suits them ; there is scarcely a Savage, small or great, 
even among the girls and women, who does not enjoy this 
intoxication, and who does not take these beverages when 
they can be had, purely and simply for the sake of being 
drunk. Now as they drink without eating, and in great 
excess, I can easily believe that the maladies which are 
daily tending to exterminate them, may in part arise from 




During that century the question of prohibition 
was often discussed. Not, however, as far as the 
white men were concerned — that would be prepos- 
terous. They merely twisted the Biblical injunction 
to read: ^^Look not upon the wine when you are 
red. ' ' The priests, who lived and worked intimately 
with the Indian tribes were the ones who most ve- 
hemently called attention to the evils of the traffic. 
The merchants were of a different mind^ hence the 
movement toward prohibition made little headway. 
But in one case at least the liquor traffic was made a 
question of state and discussed in a council called by 
order of King Louis the Fourteenth. 

In 1678 there met in the Chateau St. Louis at 
Quebec a group of the most prominent men of New 
France — called together by order of the king who 
had asked Governor Frontenac to get the opinion of 
the principal men of the colony on the question of 
selling liquor to the Indians. The delegates in- 
cluded La Salle — well known already although his 
exploration of the Mississippi Valley was still a 
matter of future history — and Louis J oUiet, in- 
trepid companion of Father Marquette in the fa- 
mous trip down the Great River five years before. 
Twenty men in all faced the question as to whether 
the sale of wine, brandy, and other intoxicating 
liquors to the Indians should be allowed in the towns 
and in the Indian country, or prohibited under heavy 

Each man separately gave his opinion and a 


proces verbal was drawn up embodying these state- 
ments. Perhaps the bald statement of Du Gue 
sounded the real key note of those who favored con- 
tinuing the trade. **The trade in brandy is abso- 
lutely necessary,'* he wrote, *4n order to draw the 
Indians into the French Colonies and prevent them 
from taking their furs to other nations.'' The na- 
tions whose competition the French feared were 
Holland and England, for the fur traders from the 
English colonies and from the Dutch settlements on 
the Hudson Eiver had pushed their operations far 
into the Indian's country. 

Business no doubt stood in the way of the sup- 
pression of the liquor traffic, but many other argu- 
ments were paraded as justification by the Canadian 
merchants. Some contended manfully that it was in 
the interests of the Indian's soul that he be given 
liquor, since if the French did not so supply him he 
would turn to the Dutch and English for liquid con- 
solation and through contact with them would either 
remain in his own idolatry or take up with the evil 
and heretical beliefs of those two nations. And 
others contended that only by allowing the Indian 
the same liberties as the whites could they draw him 
into Christianity. 

One man gave as his reason for advocating the 
continuance of the trade the fact that the French 
brandy was far superior to the Dutch variety to 
which they would otherwise turn; and they did not 
forget to use the time-honored argument that prohi- 



bition would bring forth the bootlegger. If the trade 
were banned by order of the king, the coureurs de 
bois and vagabonds would carry on illegal and very 
harmful operations in the distant Indian camps, 
selling poor liquor and demanding high prices. 

La Salle was among those who believed in the con- 
tinuation of the trade, urging that it was necessary 
not only for commercial reasons but also for the 
preservation of peace in New France. He invoked 
the aid of statistics to further his argument. The 
normal beaver trade of Canada during a year was 
from sixty to eighty thousand beavers and the In- 
dians who bought liquor numbered about twenty 
thousand. Since a beaver skin was ordinarily worth 
a pint of brandy, a fourth or a third of the entire 
trade might be carried on in liquor without making 
it possible for the Indians to get drunk more than 
once a year. La Salle, however, with vigorous ideas 
of discipline, believed in punishing severely any dis- 
orders arising from intoxication. 

Jolliet was of a different opinion. With regard 
to the transportation of liquor into the woods — 
and no one knew the Indian country in those days 
better than he — it seemed to him necessary to pro- 
hibit it upon pain of death; but he would allow the 
sale to Indians by the habitants in their own houses 
and stores in the settlements, provided it could be 
carried on with moderation and with every effort to 
avoid making the Indians drunk. And Jacques La 
Ber — merchant of Montreal — agreed with him. 



rhree other men declared against the sale of liqnor 
bo the red men either in town or country. Bnt out 
3f the score of men who gave their opinion, full 
if teen were in favor of continuing the trade without 
et or hindrance. 

So the traffic continued. It is not surprising that 
;he large majority of the leaders of New France 
should favor it. Aside from their thorough belief 
:hat their business interests were inseparably bound 
ip with this trade, the use of liquor was a matter of 
jourse in their own lives. It appealed to them not 
IS a moral question but as a question of expediency. 

As the Frenchmen came down into the Mississippi 
i^alley they brought brandy and wines with them, 
rhey were staple articles of trade and they facili- 
;ated conferences. The Indians had taught the 
A^hites the art of smoking a pipe and with this 
"riendly rite they opened all peace negotiations, 
rhe whites taught the red men the use of their more 
Dotent peace-maker, but they could not limit its in- 
iuence to the happy calling of pacification. 

And when Iberville in 1699 came into the other 
md of the Valley at the mouth of the river, he 
wrought liquor to the southern tribes. Inviting a 
^roup of Indians on board his ship one day he fired 
3if the ship's cannon for them and gave them a 
irink of eau de vie or brandy; and he tells of the 
amazement of the Indians at the roar of the engines 
of warfare and at the liquor which burned after 
they had drunk it. 



For a hundred years more the sale or barter of 
liquor to the Indians went on in the Valley and met 
with little protest. Then the United States Govern- 
ment, as it extended its power across the Mississippi 
River into the Louisiana Purchase, began to take 
steps to prevent the traffic. Laws were passed by 
the general government and by the local govern- 
ments to prevent the introduction of liquor into the 
Indian country. That these laws looked toward the 
protection and welfare of the Indian as well as the 
protection of the whites against the results of the 
red man 's intoxication is shown by the fact that they 
often carried clauses providing that money received 
or goods purchased of the Indians in exchange for 
liquor must be returned to them. But the traders 
on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, carrying on 
their operations individually or on behalf of the 
various fur companies, were frequent violators of 
the law. 

Whiskey running was hard to prevent but the In- 
dian agents worked persistently. Frequent were the 
complaints turned in to the Indian Office with re- 
gard to Jean Joseph Rolette of Prairie du Chien, 
one of the most prominent of the traders on the Up- 
per Mississippi. King Rolette he was called by the 
whites, while the Indians spoke of him as Zica or 
the Pheasant because of the speed with which he 
travelled. He was a French Canadian and his oper- 
ations were paralleled by many others of his com- 
patriots who enlivened the history of the Mississippi 


Eiver during the first third of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. He married the daughter of Antoine Dubois, 
a friend of Julien Dubuque, by whom it is reported 
the young girl was raised after her father had been 
killed by the Indians. 

On the west side of the Mississippi, not far from 
Prairie du Chien, were the mines of Julien Dubuque, 
first permanent settler of the Iowa country. It is 
difficult to say how much of Dubuque 's influence with 
the Sauk and Foxes was due to the insinuating ser- 
vices of the whiskey barrel. The evidence at hand, 
however, indicates that Dubuque held his unusual 
power over the Indians by reason of faculties which 
were uncommon even among the versatile French 
Canadians, rather than by use of the readily avail- 
able expedient of intoxicating liquors. His com- 
panions were not able to hold favor with the red 
men and were driven out of the region upon Du- 
buque's death, nor could his rivals succeed to his 
post of profit. 

Ten years later, in 1820, Henry Schoolcraft trav- 
elling through the Upper Mississippi Valley found 
great difficulty in getting permission to visit the 
mines, but at last succeeded by directing one of his 
voyageurs **to bring in a present of whiskey and 
tobacco'*. And in 1823 Beltrami, the Italian, coming 
up the river in the first steamboat to ascend to St. 
Paul, wrote : 

The Indians still keep exclusive possession of these mines, 



and with such jealousy, that I was obliged to have recourse 
to the all-powerful whiskey to obtain permission to see them. 

Over on the Missouri a similar traffic was going 
on. The American Fur Company began the opera- 
tion of a distillery at Fort Union but the Indian 
agent reported the fact to the authorities and the 
company was compelled to cease its activities. The 
most famous of the Missouri Eiver traders was the 
Spaniard, Manuel Lisa, of the Missouri Fur Com- 
pany. He was a man of great energy and wide 
interests and had many enemies. In 1817 he found 
it necessary to defend himself against the charge of 
selling whiskey to the Indians. In a letter written 
to William Clark, Governor of the Territory of Mis- 
souri, he said: 

If this charge is true it is capable of being proved. There 
are in this town, at present, many persons who have been 
in my employment, characters of the first respectability; 
also five nations with whom I have traded; among them 
can be found witnesses to attest the fact, if it be true. On 
the contrary, I appeal to the whole of them, and pronounce 
it a vile falsehood. At the same time, it is an act of hospi- 
tality indispensable in his intercourse with the Indians, 
for the trader to treat his hunters with small presents of 
liquor. They look for it, and are dissatisfied if they do not 
receive it. The permanent trader makes such presents with 
discretion. I have made them, and urged the necessity of 
them to your Excellency. 

In May, 1838, Father De Smet was sent out to 



establish a mission among the Potawatomi Indians. 
His post was near the site of the present city of 
Council Bluffs. In his diary are frequent comments 
upon the evils of the liquor traffic among the In- 
dians. Once he wrote as follows : 

Arrival of the steamer Wilmington with provisions. A 
war of extermination appears preparing around the poor 
Potawatomies. Fifty large cannons have been landed, 
ready charged with the most murderous grape shot, each 
containing thirty gallons of whiskey, brandy, rum or alco- 
hol. The boat was not yet out of sight when the skirmishes 
commenced. After the fourth, fifth and sixth discharges, 
the confusion became great and appalling. In all direc- 
tions, men, women and children were seen tottering and 
falling; the war-whoop, the merry Indians' songs, cries, 
savage roarings, formed a chorus. Quarrel succeeded quar- 
rel. Blows followed blows. The club, the tomahawk, spears, 
butcher knives, brandished together in the air. Strange! 
Astonishing! only one man, in this dreadful affray, was 
drowned in the Missouri, another severely stabbed, and 
several noses lost. ... A squaw offered her little boy 
four years old, to the crew of the boat for a few bottles of 
whiskey. I know from good authority, that upwards of 
eighty barrels of whiskey are on the line ready to be 
brought in at the payment. 

May 31. Drinking all day. Drunkards by the dozen. 
Indians are selling horses, blankets, guns, their all, to have 
a Mck at the cannon. Four dollars a bottle ! Plenty at that 
price!! Detestable traffic. 

De Smet's service at this post was short, but in 



1842 Fort Croghan was established with Captain 
Burgwin in charge and this proved a new obstacle in 
the way of liquor selling by the traders, for the cap- 
tain had orders to inspect boats going up the river 
and seize the liquor. Chittenden, however, tells of 
one case in which a cargo of liquor was smuggled up 
stream to the Indian country in spite of the inspec- 
tion of Captain Burgwin. 

The ship Omega, an American Fur Company boat 
commanded by Captain Sire and bound for the Up- 
per Missouri in 1843, was halted opposite Fort 
Croghan by rifle shots across the bow and the mes- 
sage that it must wait inspection by Captain Burg- 
win. It so happened that the naturalist John James 
Audubon and his party were passengers upon the 
boat and they had a government permit to carry a 
limited amount of liquor. This was exempt, but not 
so the large quantities of liquor which the boat car- 
ried in its hold. Audubon, however, was disposed to 
help out his companion, the boat captain, in eluding 
the seizure. He sent word to Captain Burgwin that 
he would like to visit his post, and so flattered and 
pleased the army officer by the honor of his visit 
that he delayed the tour of inspection for two hours. 
Meanwhile the boat crew had not been idle. The 
hold was divided into two narrow compartments 
with a partition between. For the moving of goods 
there was a sort of tramway with little cars which 
ran the length of one compartment, rounded a curve 
in the bow of the boat and returned on the other side 


of the partition. The crew loaded the barrels of 
liquor on these cars and ran them into a dark corner 
of the hold. 

Upon the arrival of the inspector, he was regaled 
Avith the choice wines of the Audubon supply until 
he was in such a mellow mood that he was willing to 
forego the inspection. But Captain Sire insisted 
upon it, only urging that he be as rigorous with all 
other traders. So the inspection began in the cor- 
ner of the dark hold away from the liquor-laden 
cars; and if the captain had been suspicious and 
watchful as he finished one compartment and passed 
through an opening in the partition to the other side 
he might have seen, smoothly rounding the curve at 
the far end of the boat, a string of cars bound for 
the localities he had just inspected. The liquor was 
safe and Chittenden ends his story with this remark : 
*^But woe to the luckless craft of some rival trader 
which should happen along with no Audubon in the 
cabin and no tramway in the hold." 

In the period of the Territory of Iowa the Gov- 
ernor was ex-officio Superintendent of Indian Af- 
fairs. Robert Lucas and John Chambers were both 
men of strong convictions on the matter of selling 
liquor to the Indians. Lucas vigorously attacked 
the trade in his first message to the legislature and 
as a result a law was passed imposing a fine of not 
more than one hundred or less than twenty-five dol- 
lars for each offence. This penalty, however, was so 
light in comparison to the profits to be made that 



traders incurred the risk without hesitation and the 
traffic flourished. 

Chambers also attacked the trade in his first mes- 
sage. Depicting the degradation and destruction of 
the tribes from this practice, he said : 

Humanity shudders and religion weeps over the cruel 
and unrelenting destruction of a people so interesting, by 
means so dastardly and brutal, that the use of the rifle and 
the sword, even in time of profound peace with them, 
would be comparatively merciful. 

He urged the amendment of the existing law to 
make efficient its enforcement. But no action was 
taken. A year later he advised the addition of a 
term of imprisonment to the pecuniary penalty ; but 
the legislature would go no further than to raise the 
amount of fine to a minimum of $100 and a maximum 
of $500. This was a move in the right direction but 
it did not greatly check the operations of the whiskey 

The last payment of annuities to the Sac and Fox 
Indians before their migration west of the Missouri 
took place at Fort Des Moines in 1845. An account 
of this distribution by a witness shows that liquor 
was much in evidence — that it was given to the 
Indians by soldiers under the eyes of the officers, 
that Captain Allen presented the chief Pow-e-shiek 
with a bottle of liquor with his compliments, and that 
the aftermath of the occasion was a general debauch. 

Within a year these tribes had moved out of Iowa, 


and the other tribes remained little longer. It 
seemed, indeed, that the only way in which Iowa was 
able to solve the problem of the sale of liquor to the 
Indians, was to send the Indians beyond its juris- 

John C. Pakish 

The Handcart Expeditions 

During the summer of 1856 there arrived at Iowa 
City, then the western terminus of the Mississippi 
and Missouri Railroad, several thousand Mormon 
converts from England, Scotland, and other Euro- 
pean countries. Many of these people were wards of 
the Perpetual Emigration Fund Company which had 
been organized to assist converts who could not pay 
for their outfits and transportation, the immigrants 
signing contracts to work for the church until the 
full amount was refunded. 

At this time the wave of immigration bound for 
Utah had become so great that the officers of the 
church decided it was impossible to provide wagons 
and oxen to transport all the needy immigrants from 
Iowa City to Salt Lake City, although the total cost 
of bringing one of these poor converts from Europe 
to Utah was only about sixty dollars. To meet this 
situation, Brigham Young and his advisers had, as 
early as the fall of 1855, evolved the plan of sending 
these hundreds of proselytes across the continent on 
foot. **The Lord, through his prophet, says of the 
poor, *Let them come on foot, with hand-carts or 
wheelbarrows ; let them gird up their loins, and walk 
through, and nothing shall hinder them.' 1 

To show how feasible the plan was, the head of the 
church wrote to F. D. Richards in charge of the con- 
verts in Liverpool: Fifteen miles a day will bring 
them through in 70 days, and, after they get accus- 



tomed to it, they will travel 20, 25, or even 30 with 
all ease, and no danger of giving out, but will con- 
tinue to get stronger and stronger; the little ones 
and sick, if there are any, can be carried on the carts, 
but there will be none sick in a little time after they 
get started/' 

Lured by this rosy picture of a trip of which their 
limited experience gave them no real comprehension, 
some thirteen hundred converts arrived at Iowa 
City during the summer of 1856 pledged to under- 
take the journey on foot. Here the tired and be- 
wildered immigrants found that their outfits were 
not ready : even the handcarts were yet to be made. 
While waiting for their equipment, the newcomers 
were camped on the prairie some two miles from 
Iowa City, often without tents or any shelter from 
the elements. 

Finally, however, after two or three weeks delay 
one detachment after another got under way for the 
first stage of the overland journey — the trip from 
Iowa City to the Missouri River — following at first 
the old road to Fort Des Moines. 

The first company left Iowa City on J une 9, 1856, 
with two hundred and twenty-six people ; the second, 
with about the same number, started two days later ; 
and a third and smaller company, composed largely 
of Welsh converts, began their march on June 23rd. 
Since these three companies were small and started 
fairly early in the summer, they arrived safely at 
Salt Lake City before the cold weather began. The 



first detachment, which reached its destination on 
the twenty-sixth of September, was met by a delega- 
tion of church officers, a large number of citizens, an 
escort of cavalry, and the bands of the Nauvoo le- 
gion. The divine plan'' of transporting converts 
was considered a great success. 

The two later companies were not so fortunate. 
The fourth detachment, commanded by James G. 
Willie, was detained at Iowa City for three weeks 
while the carts were being made for them and did 
not leave until the middle of J uly, while the fifth and 
last company for this year, with Edward Martin as 
its leader, began its long march on July 28th. 

Their personal equipment was necessarily limit- 
ed : seventeen pounds of baggage was allowed each 
person and this must include some food and the 
bedding and clothing for the long march. To carry 
this baggage there was provided for every five per- 
sons a cart — two wooden wheels, with thin iron 
tires, connected by a wooden axle upon which rested 
the body or box in which the baggage was to be car- 
ried. Attached to one end were projecting shafts 
about five feet long with a cross piece at the end by 
means of which the rickety vehicle was pulled along. 

In addition to the carts a wagon drawn by three 
yoke of oxen was provided for each hundred persons 
and on this were the extra provisions and the five 
tents allotted to this group. A few of the very old 
or crippled members of the company were carried in 
these wagons but, for the most part, the company 
was on foot — men, women, and children. More- 


over, the handcarts, weighing when loaded about 
one hundred pounds, had to be pulled over the rough 
roads or unbroken prairie. 

To most people of to-day — even to the young and 
strong, unencumbered by supplies — the prospect of 
walking from Iowa City to Council Bluffs in July or 
August would be viewed with dismay, but these peo- 
ple were of all ages and conditions of physical 
strength, and there were more women than men. 
Many carts were pulled by women, although the men 
in the party were required to assist others if they 
were not needed by their own families. 

A description of the fourth division during the 
march through Iowa, written by one of those who 
participated in the exodus, gives a vivid picture of 
the company as it trailed across Iowa : 

As we travelled along, we presented a singular, and some 
times an affecting appearance. The young and strong went 
along gaily with their carts, but the old people and little 
children were to be seen straggling a long distance in the 
rear. Sometimes, when the little folks had walked as far 
as they could, their fathers would take them on their carts, 
and thus increase the load that was already becoming too 
heavy as the day advanced. . . . The most affecting 
scene, however, was to see a mother carrying her child at 
the breast, mile after mile, until nearly exhausted. The 
heat was intense, and the dust suffocating, which rendered 
our daily journeys toilsome in the extreme. 

The daily rations consisted of ten ounces of flour 
— then selling for three cents a pound — for each 
adult and half as much for each child. As luxuries 



they were occasionally served a little rice, sugar, 
coffee, and bacon. **Any hearty man'*, said the an- 
nalist, * * could eat his daily allowance for breakfast. 
In fact, some of our men did this, and then worked 
all day without dinner, and went to bed supperless 
or begged food at the farmhouses as we travelled 
along. * ' 

The people of Iowa gave food to the hungry way- 
farers and urged them not to attempt the long trip 
overland, especially so late in the summer. The con- 
verts, however, were new to the difficulties of prairie 
travel ; they were inspired by the hope of seeing the 
new Zion, and thoroughly under the influence of 
their leaders who constantly warned them against 
the Gentiles. Only a very few of the company with- 

Almost four weeks elapsed before the weary immi- 
grants reached the Missouri Eiver — the starting 
point of the great adventure. Here a council was 
held to discuss the advisability of attempting the 
journey so late in the year, but all the leaders except 
one — Levi Savage — urged that the train continue 
and the converts obediently voted to proceed. Sav- 
age, who had made the trip to and from Salt Lake, 
was rebuked for want of faith but promised to ac- 
company the expedition and share the hardships. 

A week of hurried preparations, and the detach- 
ment left Florence, Nebraska, on August 18, 1856, 
westward bound. If the trip through Iowa had been 
full of hardships that now before the immigrants 


was appalling. In Iowa food was plentiful and 
charity frequently supplemented the regular rations. 
Any who were unable to continue the march might 
find a haven in some settlement where sympathy 
counteracted religious prejudice. But on the plains 
there was no opportunity to secure clothing or bed- 
ding as the nights grew chill, no settlers' shanties 
where food might be secured if their own supply 
gave out. There was food, it is true, in the herds of 
buffalo, but these European working men were to- 
tally unfitted to secure it. Indeed, with their equip- 
ment, it is doubtful whether experienced plainsmen 
could have lived oif the country. 

The carts were, consequently, more heavily laden 
than before, but even so, much in the way of bedding 
and warm clothing, the need of which was not evi- 
dent in August, had to be discarded for lack of room. 
A ninety-eight pound sack of flour was added to each 
cart, nearly doubling the original burden. The flour 
ration, however, was increased to a pound a day, 
fresh meat was issued occasionally, and each hun- 
dred had three or four milch cows. 

Refreshed by the rest at Florence, trusting im- 
plicitly in their leaders, and unaware of the perils in 
front of them the immigrants started out gaily, 
gathering each evening around the camp fires for 
worship, exhortation, and singing. One of the favor- 
ite songs was specially written for the handcart 
travellers and was sung to the tune A Little More 
Cider, The words were as follows : 



Oh, our faith goes with the hand-carts, 
And they have our hearts' best love; 
*Tis a novel mode of travelling, 
Devised hy the Gods above. 


Hurrah for the Camp of Israel ! 
Hurrah for the hand-cart scheme ! 
Hurrah! hurrah! 'tis better far 
Than the wagon and ox-team. 

And BrigJiam's their executive. 

He told us the design; 

And the Saints are proudly marching on. 

Along the hand-cart line. 

Who cares to go with the wagons? 
Not we who are free and strong ; 
' Our faith and arms, with right good will, 
Shall pull our carts along. 

It was not long, however, before trouble devel- 
oped. The carts were hastily and poorly made and 
on the dry prairie the axles were soon badly worn 
from the constant grinding of the dry sand. No 
axle grease had been provided and some of the com- 
pany were compelled to use their cherished allow- 
ance of bacon to grease the wheels. Others used 
their soap, of which they had very little, and at- 
tempts were made to protect the axles by wrapping 
them in leather or tin. As the weight of the flour 


dwindled, however, the carts ran easier and with 
grim determination the company pressed forward. 

To those who have made the trip over this route 
by rail, watching the corn and wheat fields of Ne- 
braska slip smoothly past the windows of the Pull- 
man car or idly counting the prairie dogs which bob 
up and stand at attention as the train flashes 
through the barren hills of Wyoming, the journey is 
one of a few hours and no hardship. Even the tour- 
ist in the dust-covered automobile can have no real 
appreciation of the task of these four hundred and 
twenty men, women, and children as they walked 
wearily along day after day pulling the creaking, 
complaining carts or carrying little children in their 

To add to their difficulties their cattle were stam- 
peded by the buffalo near Wood River and thirty of 
the oxen were lost. The one yoke remaining for each 
wagon was unable to pull the loads of some 3000 
pounds over the rough roads and the beef cattle, 
cows, and young stock were put under the yoke. 
Even then another sack of flour had to be added to 
each cart to lighten the weight of the wagons. 

It was in this time of perplexity that a group of 
Mormon apostles and leaders — including F. D. 
Richards, who had acted as Young's agent in Eng- 
land, and Joseph A. Young, a son of the prophet — 
passed the weary converts, camping with them one 
night. At their request for fresh meat the fattest 
calf was killed, though the immigrants themselves 



were short of food. In their carriages drawn by 
four horses or mules the leaders drove rapidly ahead 
of the crawling caravan, pausing only long enough 
to point out the best ford for the crossing of the 
North Platte. *'They stood and watched us wade 
the river — here almost a mile in width, and in 
places from two to three feet deep,'' wrote one of 
the company. * ' Our women and girls waded, pulling 
their carts after them. ' ' 

The officials promised to leave supplies for the 
detachment at Fort Laramie but when the tattered 
and footsore immigrants reached there in Septem- 
ber none had arrived. The supply of flour on hand, 
it was estimated, would not last until they reached 
their destination and unless relief reached them 
from Salt Lake there was no possibility of obtaining 
any more. It was decided to reduce the ration from 
a pound per day to twelve ounces for working men, 
nine ounces for women and old men, and from four 
to eight ounces for children, and to make every ef- 
fort to travel faster. 

As the caravan trailed up the Sweetwater Eiver 
toward South Pass the nights became colder and the 
mountains were covered with snow. Fording the 
river chilled the exhausted travellers and their sup- 
ply of clothing and bedding was inadequate to pro- 
tect them from the cold. Exhaustion, cold, and lack 
of food soon showed results. The old and weak be- 
gan to die: at first only an occasional grave was 
needed, but soon one or two persons were buried at 


each camping place. Dysentery was added to their 
enemies and the young and strong also began to die. 
There were no medicines and no opportunity for 
caring for the sick. Men frequently pulled the hand- 
cart, on which were the supplies for their families 
and perhaps the children themselves, until the day 
preceding their death. Those wholly unable to walk 
were put in the wagons and when there was no room 
there, were hauled on the handcarts, jolting slowly 
over the rocks and sand of the trail or tipping this 
way and that as they were pulled across the creeks 
and ravines. 

It was in this desperate situation that the caravan 
was met by J oseph A. Young, who had watched the 
company ford the North Platte. Apprehensive of 
the fate of the immigrants he had no sooner reached 
Salt Lake City than he reported their situation to 
his father and was immediately ordered to meet the 
two detachments with supplies. Pushing on ahead 
of the wagons with one companion he met the fourth 
company in the midst of its first heavy snow storm. 
After announcing the coming supply train he went 
on eastward to meet the fifth group, whose situation 
was even more precarious. 

With renewed hope the converts pushed desper- 
ately ahead, doubling teams when the worn out cat- 
tle were unable to pull even the diminished loads. 
Next morning they woke to find the snow a foot deep, 
their hungry cattle had strayed away, some of the 
exhausted animals had perished, and worse than all, 



five of the company had died during the night. 
There was no flour and only a little hard bread 
which had been secured at Fort Laramie. To move 
through the snow in their starving and exhausted 
condition was impossible and it was determined to 
send two men — Captain Willie and a companion — : 
ahead to hurry the supply train, and to await their 
coming in camp. Two of the worn-out oxen were 
killed for food and this meat, a few pounds of sugar 
and dried apples, a part of a sack of rice, and some 
twenty or twenty-five pounds of biscuits was all the 
food for the company until help arrived. 

For three days they remained there — hungry, 
cold, many of them ill, the cattle dying of starvation. 
On the evening of the third day came the wagons 
which had halted on account of the snow storm, the 
teamsters not realizing that the handcart immi- 
grants were actually starving. Wild scenes of re- 
joicing met the relief party and new hope of reach- 
ing Zion inspired the immigrants. 

A part of the supply train continued eastward to 
meet Martin's party and the others took charge of 
the party in camp and began the slow return to Salt 
Lake. Those too weak to walk were permitted to 
ride in the wagons but even here they suffered in- 
tolerably from the cold. Many froze their feet and 
had to be carried from place to place. Food and 
renewed hope failed to save some of the sufferers. 
At the camp on Willow Creek fifteen persons were 
buried, their bodies stiffly frozen. 


Perhaps in the history of the United States there 
are few pictures more pathetic than this company of 
Mormon converts as they straggled along through 
the snow, afraid to sit down to rest lest they perish 
with the cold, the oxen as dejected as the people. 
One elderly man — a farm laborer from Gloucester- 
shire — unable to pull his cart, trudged along for a 
while with his little son, carrying in his stiff hands 
his cherished gun. At last he could go no farther 
and lay down in the snow, wrapped in an old quilt 
given him by a kindly companion. An ox team re- 
turning for the stragglers rescued him late at night, 
but he died before morning. Scenes like these were 
not uncommon. Sometimes three or four of the hu- 
man teams combined to pull the carts but this was 
slow work and necessitated much additional walking. 

After crossing South Pass, however, the suffering 
gradually diminished: the weather became warmer 
and they were met by wagons loaded with food sent 
out by the Mormon people. On the ninth of Novem- 
ber, some four months after their start from Iowa 
City, the fourth detachment reached Salt Lake City, 
the Mecca of their pilgrimage of three thousand 
miles by steamer, one thousand miles by rail^ and 
fifteen hundred miles on foot. 

Sixty-seven of this company, however, had fallen 
by the way. The fifth detachment lost even more 
heavily : about one-fourth of the party perished dur- 
ing the journey. The tragedy of these two com- 
panies led to the exchange of recriminations and 



charges between tlie Mormon leaders, and though at 
least three other companies were sent across the 
plains in 1859 and 1860, none were organized after 
the latter date. The ox team and the railroad took 
the place of the divine plan''. 

EuTH A. Gallaher 

The Passing of a Slave 

The presence of an aged negro at the State en- 
campment of the Grand Army of the Eepublic in 
Iowa City recently brought to mind another colored 
soldier who wore the blue during the trying days of 
the Civil War, and spent his declining years at Bed- 
ford, Iowa. 

Born in slavery in Savannah, Missouri, and owned 
by a man named Jack Davis this negro had none 
of the advantages of education afforded his race to- 
day, yet he so improved his mind through an un- 
quenchable thirst for information that he acquired 
a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. He died a few 
years ago, in 1915 to be exact, and the white man's 
church in which was read the funeral service was 
filled to the doors by the many townsmen who paid 
tribute to his memory. 

During the war a detachment of Confederate 
troops came to the Davis place to take the slaves 
away to a safer location, and young Jack Howe was 
sent to the bam to care for a horse belonging to an 
officer. With some other negroes he managed to 
escape and to cross the Iowa line. He then enlisted 
in the Union army and served faithfully until the 
close of the war. One of his most cherished memo- 
ries was the fact that he served in the campaign of 
Vicksburg under Grant. After receiving an honor- 



able discharge lie came to Taylor County, Iowa, and 
for several years engaged in farming. Later he re- 
moved to Bedford where he ran a truck garden. 

Although he never learned to read, every evening 
found him seated in an arm chair in front of the 
town hall listening to the reading of newspapers. 
Grovernmental affairs interested him particularly 
and his memory for details was marvelous. He 
would listen to the reading of the President's mes- 
sage to Congress with all the interest displayed by a 
fiction lover in the latest popular novel. When the 
Payne-Aldrich tariff bill was in process of formation 
he followed painstakingly the framing of each sched- 
ule and foretold with considerable accuracy the un- 
popular reception it would create. 

War news, too, held his attention. During the 
Spanish- American imbroglio of 1898 he was the first 
to buy a paper when the newsdealer put the morning 
dailies on the counter and then he would seek some 
other old soldier to read it to him. Part of this 
interest was due, doubtless, to the fact that he had a 
son in the famous colored regiment that supported 
Roosevelt and his Rough Riders at San Juan and 
El Caney. Later this son went with his regiment to 
the Philippines and there he died after a lingering 

During the Russo-Japanese struggle of 1904-1905 
Jack Plowe stubbornly defended the cause of Russia, 
arguing that Russia was the friend of the Union in 
the dark days of 1861-1865 and hence deserved the 


sympathy of the United States in her difficulty. He 
lived to see the beginning of the great World War 
and, feeble though he was, his hunger for informa- 
tion was unabated and he importuned his friends 
daily to read or tell him the progress of the struggle. 

Jack was a regular attendant at the sessions of 
the district court and to hear him mimic the leading 
lawyers of the county seat was a rare treat. Half 
in fun and half in earnest opposing counsel in a jury 
trial would consult him as to the verdict when the 
case had gone to the jury, and the remarkable thing 
about his answers was the number of times he accu- 
rately predicted the outcome. 

In politics he was one of the best-known charac- 
ters in southwestern Iowa. Eepublicanism was al- 
most a religion with him. He admitted that there 
were some good Democrats but how a negro could 
vote the Democratic ticket was beyond his compre- 
hension. Even in local affairs, in city and school 
elections, he supported Eepublicans only. At every 
Eepublican rally or meeting he occupied a front seat 
and when the speaker made some telling point or 
soundly berated the Democratic party Jack would 
raise his voice in his own version of the rebel yell to 
the great amusement of the audience and to the con- 
sternation of a speaker who had not been warned of 
the old negro's enthusiasm. All the Eepublican 
candidates who campaigned in the eighth Congres- 
sional district knew him personally and laughed 
heartily over his enthusiasm during their speeches. 



Uncle Pete'' Hepburn, Judge H. M. Towner, Sen- 
ator A. B. Cummins and former Governor Leslie M. 
Shaw were his favorite political orators and they 
were sure of a rousing reception on Jack's part 
every time they spoke at Bedford. 

Jack Howe, ex-slave and ex-soldier, was a credit 
to his race, and his death reminds us of the passing 
of the American slave. He was past ninety when he 
died, and the youngest negro born in slavery has 
already reached the twilight of his life. A few years 
more and the rapidly thinning ranks of the negroes 
who served in bondage will be depleted. Then will 
have gone from American history many who like 
Jack Howe were courteous, genteel and faithful — 
a distinct and worthy type of the colored race. 

Bruce E. Mahan 

Comment by the Editor 


Probably it comes as a surprise to most of us to 
find that Iowa City was an outfitting post for a 
series of expeditions as considerable as those de- 
scribed by Miss Gallaher in the story of the Hand- 
cart Expeditions. And yet it is a natural enough 
incident in the history of that time. Iowa City was 
the western end of the railroad, which reached the 
town on January first, 1856, and it was in the follow- 
ing summer that the hundreds of European prose- 
lytes to the Mormon faith gathered there in a camp 
two miles from town and waited for the busy citi- 
zens to make them handcarts and otherwise profit by 
their preparations for the long overland trail. 

Other towns had already become outfitting places. 
Before the days of the railroad Burlington and Du- 
buque, lying beside the great waterway, had served 
travelers who left the river to go into the interior 
wilderness. Mormons crossing in the great trek of 
1846-1847 made their own camps as they went, but 
established on the site of Council Bluffs the outfit- 
ting town of Kanesville which served Mormons and 
Gentile for long years before it changed its name to 
Council Bluffs. 

The Fifty-niners with their canvas covered wag- 




ons flaunting the slogan of Pike's Peak or Busf 
traveled across Iowa by the thousands and sampled 
the supplies and the good cheer of the town on the 
Missouri before they crossed on the ferry and be- 
gan the trail across the plains. 

It was through Iowa that the railroads from the 
East first penetrated on their way to the far West, 
and the railhead was always more or less of a jump- 
ing off place. Sioux City as well as Council Bluffs 
soon succeeded to this advantage. In the seventies 
when the gold strike in the Black Hills stirred the 
adventurers of the country, Sioux City became the 
outfitting post for many expeditions. 

But the towns of Iowa served these purposes only 
as temporary functions and with the westward flight 
of the frontier they settled down to the more prosaic 
and more permanent task of acting as community 
centers for an agricultural State. 

J. C. P. 

AUGUST 1922 


Robert Lucas 233 
John C. Pamsh 

Iowa in the Days of Lucas 244 

~ - ^ JohkX* Parish 

Three Early Taverns 250 

Bruce E. JNJahan^ 

Comment 26 1 

The Editor 


UNDER THE ACT OF A0603T 24 1912 


The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. Ill Issued in August 1922 No. 8 


Robert Lucas 

There are at least three known portraits of Iowa's 
first Governor, Robert Lucas. One is a water color 
painting of a young man in uniform with a high 
crowned hat decorated with a military cockade. It 
represents, no doubt, the period of Lucas 's life when 
he was a somewhat swashbuckling young officer in 
the Ohio militia. The view is a profile and shows a 
rather long nose and prominent brows; but the 
mouth — too well-shaped for reality — and the large 
dark eye, make one suspect that the artist did not 
get them from life but culled them from some draw- 
ing manual which provided sample illustrations of 
human features for the benefit of young draughts- 
men. Naturally there is little of character reflected 
in this picture. 

But in the second portrait the subject has laid 
aside his military hat and epauletted coat, arrayed 
himself in the black stock and white linen and severe 
coat of civilian life and turned his face to the front. 



It is a strong face with a mien somewhat stern and 
imperious. The portrait is that of a man in middle 
life and probably shows him as he looked in his 
years as a legislator and Governor of Ohio. 

His hair is combed up and back like a modem 
pompadour, leaving a high expanse of forehead. 
His eyes are set wide apart under level, strongly 
marked eyebrows. His nose is long and slightly 
aquiline, his mouth straight and his chin square. 
The general shape and set of his head give the im- 
pression of a spare-framed wiry man of erect and 
unrelaxing carriage. | 

The third picture is that of an old man. In his 
seventy-second year, Lucas wrote of having a 
daguerreotype taken and remarked: **It is thought 
to be a good likeness.'^ No doubt it is from this 
primitive photograph that George Yewell painted 
the oil portrait which shows Eobert Lucas as lowans 
must have known him. The picture is much like the 
second. It faces unequivocally to the front, a black 
stock wraps itself about the white collar whose wide- 
spread points rise up on each side of his chin. His 
hair is still combed up and back away from his fore- 
head, but it has turned white with the years. 

In his face one can read the story of his tempestu- 
ous governorship in the new Territory west of the 
Mississippi. Every feature has sharpened and in- 
tensified its characteristics. His nose is thinner than 
ever and his nostrils curve up like those of a restive 
horse. His high wide cheek bones seem more pro- 



nounced and the cheeks below them thinner. But in 
the eyes and the mouth particularly the story has 
written itself. The mouth has tightened into a thin 
line of habitual determination as if the continual 
practice of pressing his lips together had set them 
there in an unrelaxing union. And the eyes. Deep- 
set beneath the straight ledge of white eyebrows, 
they burn with an intensity that was merely hinted 
at in his earlier portrait. There is a sternness in 
them that must have seemed almost malignant to 
his enemies. 

Uncompromising he was, beyond the venture of 
a doubt ; and as he slipped over into his seventies the 
mellowing years seemed to have failed to soften the 
expression which had settled upon his face in the 
! long years of a stormy career. 

Now that the reader has looked upon these por- 
traits it may be well to turn back to the story of the 
life of this vehement figure if only to find the three 
portraits matched by periods of his existence. 
Lucas was by heritage a Quaker, but his father had 
been a Revolutionary soldier, and the paths of peace 
he himself was seldom content to tread. He was an 
enthusiastic militia man and rose to the grade of 
major general in the Ohio organization. 

His life as a young man in pioneer Ohio was full 
of turbulence ; and it was probably mixed with some 
lawlessness. In 1810 a suit was brought against 
him and the sheriff of Scioto County attempted to 
take him into custody. Lucas, however, resisted ar- 




rest. He was a formidable and determined man, a 
prominent officer of the militia, and he had many- 
friends in the community. The sheriff decided to 
resign his office rather than persist in his dangerous 
duties. Thereupon the coroner, upon whom the task 
then devolved, also resigned. Lucas then swore 
vengeance upon the clerk who issued the writ and 
he too resigned. 

But men were soon found who would make the 
arrest, and a small posse proceeded to Brown's tav- 
ern wh^re Lucas was then living at Portsmouth, 
Ohio, and started with him to the jail. As the pro- 
cession got under way, John Brown, tavern-keeper 
and father-in-law of Lucas, fiery in disposition but 
small in stature, tried to effect a rescue. One of the 
larger men of the posse, however, rudely threw him 
into a clump of jimson weed and the son-in-law re- 
mained in the hands of the law. 

Lucas, from the secure fastnesses of the jail, cast 
about for some means of escape, and the militia oc- 
curred to him. So he wrote letters to various offi- 
cers asking them to come to the rescue of their 
unfortunate commander. Eighteen years later, 
when he was running for State senator, an opposing 
newspaper printed one of these letters written to a 
militia captain, asking that he and his men gather 
at Mr. Brown's and unite in supporting the consti- 
tution of the State by coming to the defense of their 
constitutional officer whom the revolutionist party 
had by violence forced into prison. On the fold of 



the letter was a list of the five men of the posse and 
opposite the names this legend: **The dam raskels 
that mobbed me*\ But though in that year Lucas 
had succeeded to the duties of a brigadier general, 
there is no evidence that the militia effected a jail 

As early as 1803 he was interested in military af- 
fairs, being engaged in that year upon one occasion 
in recruiting volunteers for the Ohio militia. When 
the United States ship Chesapeake was fired upon 
by a British commander in 1807, Lucas was called 
upon to furnish a company from his regiment to 
hold itself in readiness for immediate active service, 
an invasion of Canada being in contemplation. The 
company was formed by volunteers from the regi- 
ment and they chose Lucas to act as their captain. 
The occasion for action, however, did not material- 
ize. In the War of 1812 there was real need of mili- 
tary duty, and Lucas served under General Hull at 
Detroit. He must have continued his interest in 
military affairs after the war was over for in Febru- 
ary, 1816, he was elected major general of the 2d 
division of the Ohio militia. 

But the business of politics now engrossed him. 
He had been sent to the lower house of the Ohio 
legislature in 1808, and after the War of 1812 he 
was elected to the State senate. From 1814 to 1832, 
with the exception of only four scattering years he 
served in the legislature of the State of Ohio. He 
was a Democrat, an ardent supporter of Andrew 



Jackson. In fact lie looked like Jackson, lie had 
come up through somewhat similar experiences, and 
he had many characteristics that matched those of 
Old Hickory. 

In May, 1832, at Baltimore, Lucas had the honor 
of presiding over the first national convention ever 
held by the Democratic Party and then he came 
home to a campaign that landed him in the Gov- 
ernor's chair at Columbus. In 1830 he had been an 
unsuccessful candidate for the governorship of 
Ohio, but in 1832 he was elected by a large majority, 
and two years later he was chosen to fill a second 

He was now in the prime of life. He had come 
from Virginia to Ohio a generation before when it 
was not yet a State. He had surveyed land in the 
new country, had helped organize its militia, and 
had served for many years as legislator. Too early 
for railroads, he had pushed persistently for a wide- 
spread system of canals. He had seen Ohio grow 
from a wilderness with only here and there a soli- 
tary settlement to a State with more than a million 
inhabitants and hundreds of thriving towns. 

Meanwhile he had learned to control the impetu- 
osity of his youth and turn his energy into construc- 
tive channels. He still loved and hated with inten- 
sity, and he always would. But now, his enemies 
instead of being ^Hhe dam raskels that mobbed him'' 
became invested with terms more polite if not less 
positive. Positiveness was fundamental in the psy- 



chology of Lucas. He made up his mind definitely 
and held to his opinions unswervingly. Yet it must 
be conceded that his decisions were usually backed 
by a sound judgment and common sense. 

The most enlivening episode in the period of his 
governorship was the Ohio-Michigan boundary dis- 
pute. A strip of land between Ohio and the Terri- 
tory of Michigan was claimed by both, and at one 
time Governor Lucas, with 600 Ohio militiamen, 
glared across the line from Perrysburg at Stevens 
T. Mason, the **Boy Governor*' of Michigan, who 
had gathered about a thousand troops behind him at 
Toledo. Both Governors were determined and the 
citizens of State and Territory were inflamed, but 
Lucas refused to make it a struggle between State 
and Territory, claiming that it was a question be- 
tween Ohio and the United States ; and though over- 
patriotic Buckeyes assured him they would follow 
him through blood to their eyes ' \ he averted blood- 
shed and the question was settled by granting the 
disputed tract to Ohio and admitting Michigan to 
the Union with a peace-offering in the shape of an 
addition of land beyond Lake Michigan. 

When he laid down the duties of Governor he was 
quite desirous of becoming United States Senator. 
It was the third time he had been considered 
for this post, and now he felt that he was the logical 
man for the position. But he was disappointed. A 
much younger man was chosen. The fruits of his 
long career of public service were to be used in an- 



other and far different field, for his friends at Wash- 
ington secured his appointment as Governor of the 
newly created Territory of Iowa, out on the frontier 
of the nation's growth. 

Lucas was of a race of pioneers. Born in western 
Virginia a few weeks before the surrender of York- 
town, he had come to Ohio just as he reached ma- 
turity and there he grew up with the country for a 
third of a century. Now, as he journeyed down the 
Ohio River by steamboat to his new post in 1838, he 
found himself at the age of 57 coming again into a 
land of beginnings, a region of scattered settlements 
and primitive political life. The new Territory 
could well profit by the political experience of Rob- 
ert Lucas. And his well formulated ideas on such 
questions as education, gambling and intemperance, 
and public improvements were worth their consider- 
ation. But he had a stormy time for three years. 

His first conflict was with William B. Conway, 
the Secretary of the Territory. Conway was a very 
young and very ambitious man. He arrived in Iowa 
before Lucas, and taking prompt advantage of the 
provision of the Organic Act which made the Secre- 
tary a sort of vice-Governor, he began forthwith to 
occupy himself with the duties of the major office. 
When Lucas arrived it was difficult for the young 
man to step down. Relations between the two men 
became increasingly difficult. Conway next quar- 
reled with the legislative assembly but soon patched 
up his differences with the law-makers and made 


common cause with them in an altercation which 
they had developed with Governor Lucas over Terri- 
torial expenditures and the veto power. 

The Governor, in accordance with well-fixed prin- 
ciples of his political faith, used the power of veto 
which the Organic Act gave him. The legislators 
rebelled even so far as to ask the President of the 
United States to remove him from office. They were 
unsuccessful but the veto power was changed to a 
limited form. 

He attacked with vehemence the prevalent fron- 
tier vices of gambling and intemperance, and re- 
fused to appoint any man guilty of these habits to 
an office. This made him enemies who succeeded in 
getting his appointive power reduced. He ar- 
raigned the habit of carrying concealed weapons, 
and referred to the recent killing of a member elect 
of the legislature by a prominent Burlington attor- 
ney, and thus made another bitter foe. He pointed 
out the extravagance of the legislative expenditures 
and the looseness of Secretary Conway's accounts 
and still more men ranged themselves against him. 
But the Governor, unrelenting and uncompromising, 
pursued his way unmoved. Legislatures changed, 
Secretary Conway died, and public affairs took on a 
semblance of stability. 

Another event occurred in which Lucas found him- 
self more at harmony with his fellow citizens. A 
dispute arose as to the boundary between the Terri- 
tory of Iowa and the State of Missouri. Lucas 



surely was not without experience in this sort of 
controversy. But now he was the champion of the 
Territory rather than the State. He was just as 
positive. And he still maintained that the Territory 
could not oppose the State. Only as a representa- 
tive of the United States government could he par- 
ticipate in any way. But in this capacity he had 
duties to uphold, and he supported the contention of 
the Territory with vigor. 

Again occurred the spectacle of two conglomerate 
bodies of troops facing each other across a disputed 
tract of land, and again they disbanded without a 
clash, leaving the question to be decided as Lucas 
contended it should be — by the United States gov- 
ernment. Theodore S. Parvin recorded in his diary : 
^^The Border war turned to be a Humbug — troops 
returned — a drinking frolic followed. ' ' 

With the change of presidential administration in 
1841 Lucas was removed to make way for a Whig. 
He spent the remainder of his life for the most part 
in Iowa, serving as a prominent member of the Con- 
stitutional Convention of 1844, participating inter- 
mittently in public affairs, and dying at last in 1853 
at his home on the edge of Iowa City. 

As one turns back to the last portrait of Robert 
Lucas, the grim old face carries its own interpreta- 
tion. The wide, high forehead bears out the impres- 
sion of a mind that could reason clearly and logic- 
ally, and look upon public matters with some fore- 
sight. The eyes, deep set and dominating, show an 



intensity of spirit, and the unsmiling moutli be- 
speaks an inflexible determination. But in the eyes 
there is a suggestion of bitterness, and nowhere in 
the dramatic old face is there any indication of a 
quality that would have enriched his life and in- 
creased his influence among his fellow men — a 
sense of humor. 

John C. Parish 

Iowa in the Days of Lucas 

The State of Iowa to-day covers an area of about 
55,000 square miles. In 1838 when Eobert Lucas 
came out to Burlington as Governor he found the 
Territory of Iowa spread over a tract of land ap- 
proximately three times that size. It included be- 
sides the present Iowa, all of modern Minnesota 
lying west of the Mississippi Eiver, and all of what 
is now North and South Dakota east of the Missouri. 
On the north the Canadian line was the boundary 
and on the northwest in the faraway land of the 
Sioux the line followed the White Earth Eiver south- 
ward from Canada until it joined the Missouri. 

But if the area was large the population was ex- 
ceedingly small. In 1838 there were 22,859 persons 
in the Territory and this is less than one per cent of 
the present population of the State. Furthermore 
over half of these had come in within two years. 

These people lived almost entirely in the Black 
Hawk Purchase which extended back from the river 
not more than fifty miles. The chief centers of popu- 
lation were a half dozen or more towns on the west 
bank of the Mississippi; but in 1838 the counties 
which ranked second and third in point of numbers 
were two interior counties — Van Buren and Henry. 

Iowa City in that year was not yet thought of ; Des 
Moines was merely the name of a river and a county; 




and the western part of the Territory was an un- 
peopled wilderness save for bands of Indians. It is 
true that near Council Bluffs Father De Smet had a 
mission post ; on the Eed River of the North in the 
present Minnesota was the group of Selkirk col- 
onists ; and west of the Mississippi near Fort Snell- 
ing were a few white squatters. But it is doubtful 
if Lucas or any other officer of the Territory realized 
their existence. 

Before Lucas went out of office in 1841, the popu- 
lation had no doubt doubled itself for it had almost 
done so when the census of 1840 was taken. This 
survey showed 43,112 persons in the Territory. As 
might be expected in a pioneer Commonwealth, the 
men greatly out-numbered the women, the propor- 
tion being roughly 4 to 3. Scattered throughout the 
various counties were 188 colored persons. Most of 
these were free of course, but the United States 
census returns list 16 as slaves — all from the county 
of Dubuque. This same county is credited by the 
census taker as possessing among its inhabitants a 
woman over one hundred years old. This must have 
been the mother of Alexander Butterworth of Du- 
buque, who was reported to have danced at her son's 
wedding in 1837, despite her 107 years. 

The presence of so large a number of free colored 
persons and especially of the sixteen slaves is in line 
with the fact that Iowa in the time of Lucas had 
been peopled to a considerable extent from the 
Southern States. Lucas himself was a native of 



Virginia and his successor came to Iowa after nearly 
a half century of life in Kentucky. The first legis- 
lative assembly which Lucas faced in 1838 included 
in its membership twenty, or more than one-half, 
whose birthplace was south of the Mason and Dixon 
Line. New Englanders there were in abundance but 
they did not predominate as has so often been 
claimed. As the Civil War approached, the south- 
ern influx weakened while that from the northeast 
increased, but in the years of the early Territorial 
period, the migration from Virginia, Maryland, and 
the Carolinas — sometimes with a few years stop- 
over in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois — was large. 
Kentucky and Tennessee sent many young men into 
this new and promising Territory. And the contri- 
butions of Missouri to this upstream migration in- 
cluded such men as George Wallace Jones and 
Augustus Caesar Dodge, the first two United States 
Senators from Iowa, and Stephen Hempstead, the 
second Governor of the State. 

In the early days they had come to trade in furs 
and to mine lead but by 1840 they came to farm. 
Over 10,000 in that year were listed as farmers while 
all the other occupations together gave employment 
to less than 3000. They were men of little wealth, 
but of sturdy ways. They were democratic and inde- 
pendent, accustomed to labor and frontier hardships, 
but unaccustomed to restraint. They were intelli- 
gent but not many of them were highly educated. 
Only 365 in 1840 practised the learned professions. 



The steamboat Tempest from Cincinnati brought 
Lucas to the landing at Burlington. This was the 
leading town of the Territory, proud of the honor of 
having been the Territorial capital of Wisconsin and 
eager to continue its position as the seat of the gov- 
ernment. Dubuque was a strong rival, while Daven- 
port, Fort Madison, and Bloomington (later taking 
the name Muscatine) were smaller but were growing 
rapidly. In the interior, settlements had sprung up 
at Salem, the Quaker village, at Mt. Pleasant, Keo- 
sauqua, and a dozen other places but they could not 
hope to rival the river towns. Iowa City was laid 
out in 1839 and grew with a rapidity due largely to 
the fact that it had been founded as the seat of 

Dubuque was still essentially a miner's town, 
Burlington a lawyer's town, while Iowa City became 
the dream town of the politicians. And each of the 
other smaller towns had its own ambitions and char- 
acteristics. Some of the ambitions came to naught, 
as in the case of Ivanhoe which died a natural death, 
and Rockingham, which, after fighting a valiant con- 
test for supremacy in the county with Davenport 
four miles away, was worsted and finally engulfed 
by its rival. But most of the settlements persevered 
and grew into thriving and permanent towns. 

When Lucas arrived the great highway was the 
river. Steamers shuttled back and forth between 
Dubuque and Burlington and brought increasing 
numbers of settlers from the East and South by way 



of the Ohio Eiver and St. Louis. But the overland 
immigrants also were numerous. They came to the 
river and crossed on ferries at Dubuque or Daven- 
port or Burlington, and then proceeded to roll their 
wagon wheels inland. 

Trails developed into roads; ferry crossings and 
fords at the small streams caught the moving tide of 
migration into little knots of settlement. A military 
road was laid out in 1839 from Dubuque to Iowa 
City, and in 1841 Burlington boasted four tri-weekly 
mails, **one to Peoria, Illinois, with splendid Troy 
post-coaches ; one to Dubuque, via Bloomington and 
Davenport ; one to Fort Madison, Montrose, and St. 
Francisville, Missouri, continuing to St. Louis; one 
to Macomb, Rushville, and Springfield, Illinois, con- 
tinuing east ; and one is shortly to be established to 
Iowa City.'* 

The census of 1840 tells us that fifteen men in 
Iowa were employed in the turning out of news- 
papers. Weekly sheets were issued in Dubuque, 
Davenport, and Burlington, the latter town enjoying 
the luxury and excitement of two rival papers, the 
Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot published by James G. 
Edwards, a Whig, and the Iowa Territorial Gazette 
published by James Clarke, a Democrat who became 
Governor of the Territory in 1845. 

The columns of these newspapers reflect a virile 
but heterogeneous population. There were good 
men and horse-thieves in most of the communities. 
The settlers built churches soon after they had 



founded their towns, and schools came not much 
later. But the tavern was even an earlier institu- 
tion. Gambling and intemperance were common 
vices, the carrying of firearms was prevalent, and 
organized bands such as the **Linn County bogus 
gang'', and the group that brought on the Bellevue 
War in 1840, did not hesitate now and then to add 
murder to the crimes of counterfeiting and horse- 

The better element, however, was strongly in the 
ascendant, the incoming migration held a constantly 
larger proportion of law-abiding citizens, and the 
vigorous administration of Eobert Lucas did much 
to establish peace and order in the frontier Terri- 
tory. It was still the edge of civilization, with wil- 
derness and the Indian close at hand; but the Indian 
was more often a victim than an aggressor, and the 
forces that were to conquer the wilderness had 
crossed the Mississippi and established themselves 
invincibly on the western side. 

John C. Parish 

Three Early Taverns 

Around the big bend of the Mississippi steamed 
the side- wheel packet, the Gypsy, upstream to the 
mud bank landing of the little settlement of Bloom- 
ington, now Muscatine, Iowa. The year was 1839. 
The passengers on deck bound for the newly created 
Territory of Iowa saw the brush and timber-covered 
bluff and ravines and, scattered among the cotton- 
wood and oak trees on the slope of the hill and along 
the shore, some twenty-five or thirty shanties and 
log cabins almost hidden by the foliage. A rough 
and uneven road half concealed by the hazel bushes 
at its sides stretched along what is now Front Street. 

Stumps upon the river front served as seats for 
the townspeople who, hearing the hoarse throaty 
whistle of the approaching steamboat, came down to 
the shore curious to see the new arrivals. The deep 
toned bell of the Gypsy rang out as the boat warped 
into the landing and the gang plank was thrust out 
upon the mud bank for the eager newcomers to go 

A passenger landing here and asking for a tavern 
would probably be directed to fat, jolly Bob Kinney, 
who occupied the largest stump along the bank, and 
be told that he was the owner of the Iowa House 
which stood some sixty feet to the north. 

Robert C. Kinney, a rotund, pleasant old fellow, 




was the first landlord of Bloomington. He had con- 
structed the rear part of his tavern, a story and a 
half frame structure, in 1836. This building, about 
sixteen by thirty feet in size, contained three rooms 
below and three above, and stood well back on the 

In two years increased business, due largely to the 
steady arrival of immigrants to the new country, 
made it necessary for Kinney to enlarge the Iowa 
House. Accordingly, he added a front part some 
thirty by forty feet in size and two stories high, 
built at right angles to the rear portion. This addi- 
tion filled the lot to the street. 

A two-story veranda extended along the entire 
front, the lower porch up some four feet from the 
ground and reached by a flight of steps in the center. 
This porch became a favorite loafing place because 
the cool breezes off the river swept it of an evening 
and it commanded an unobstructed view of the broad 
curve of the Mississippi, the wooded island down 
stream, and the green, brush-covered Illinois shore 
opposite. Usually the ladies occupied the upper 
porch, while the men on the lower part smoked, told 
stories, and slapped mosquitoes. 

The entire structure, both the new and old parts, 
was built largely of lumber prepared near the site. 
The floors, doors, and window frames were made of 
sawed lumber; the lath, shingles, studding, siding, 
and rafters were split or hewn from large oak trees 
which had grown nearby. It was the stumps of 



these trees which afforded comfortable seats for the 
townspeople who came down to view the boats and 
the river. 

The popular landlord of the Iowa House was fat 
and lazy but big-hearted and generous, and his 
boarders — nearly all the unmarried doctors, law- 
yers, and merchants of Bloomington — delighted in 
playing tricks on him for the fun of getting him 
excited. The knives and forks at the Iowa House 
were the common iron type then in use. If one of 
the tines of the two-tined forks became bent or blunt 
some one of the boys would jab it up under the bot- 
tom of the table top and there let it stick. Then he 
would call for another one. The lumbering inn- 
keeper, finding that his forks were disappearing, 
would drawl, **Gor Almighty, Meriah, what got all 
the forks?" 

Kinney set as good a table as the times would per- 
mit. Bacon, beans, and bread were staple dishes and 
occasionally apple sauce added a pleasant variety. 
He had neither stove nor range ; all the cooking was 
done in a large stone fireplace in the house and in a 
baking oven located in the back yard. He gave no- 
tice that a meal was ready by ringing a bell which 
hung in a sort of a chicken coop arrangement on top 
of the tavern. The clang of the dinner bell brought 
the boarders pell mell into the dining room and at 
the same time served as a sort of town clock for the 

Another favorite trick of the young men of Bloom- 


ington was to remove this bell under cover of dark- 
ness and to hide it in the brush. Great was the glee 
at the excited outburst of the landlord when he 
pulled the bell rope the next morning and heard no 
resulting clang. 

Whenever an itinerant minister came along Bob 
Kinney threw open his doors and permitted the free 
use of his tavern for a religious service. Likewise, 
he permitted the few travelling exhibitions or shows 
to use his dining room for an amusement hall. His 
tavern, too, was always open as a hospital for the 
sick who needed the special care and attention of the 
bachelor doctors who boarded with him. Fat and 
clumsy though he was. Bob Kinney had a generous 
heart and sacrificed his own income to help those in 

Dances also were held in the old Iowa House, the 
quadrille being the favorite although the Virginia 
EeeP', the French Four'* and ''Money Musk" 
were likewise popular. One Bloomington young 
dandy of 1840 trapped muskrats to get money 
enough to buy him a fashionable outfit to attend the 
cotillion parties at Kinney's tavern. 

He bought broadcloth, mouse colored, for the 
coat, and the local tailor made him a stylish garment 
of the claw hammer pattern with long wide padded 
tails. His waistcoat was a double breasted effect in 
black satin, quite fancy; his trousers, light colored 
and tight fitting, spread at the ankles in the so-called 
spring bottom style and fastened under his calf skin 



boots with a strap. A standing collar reaching up 
to his ears, tied around with a black silk stock, and 
a tall gray beaver hat completed his stylish attire. 
Little did he begrudge the two dollars he had to pay 
for his ticket the first time he wore the suit, for he 
knew that his chances would be good to dance every 
tune even though there were only two women for 
every three men. 

The Iowa House offered few of the accommoda- 
tions of the modern hotel. Three or more beds occu- 
pied each room and they were not considered filled 
unless at least two people slept in each. Oftentimes 
they held three. No screens kept out the mosquitoes 
and flies, and bathing facilities were crude. It is 
related that a stranger arrived and stayed over 
night. In the morning he asked landlord Kinney 
where he might wash. Bob inquired if he had a 
handkerchief. The roomer replied that he had. 
Whereupon Bob drawled, **Wall, thar's the river, 
wash thar, and wipe on your handkerchief.*' 

In the early '40 's Kinney decided to abandon the 
more or less unprofitable business of keeping an inn 
and arranged to rent his tavern to Captain William 
Fry. Feeling that he should have an iron-clad lease 
drawn up, Bob went to his lawyer boarder, S. C. 
Hastings, and stated his requirements. Hastings, 
seeing a chance to square up a goodly portion of his 
unpaid board bill, took up the job. He covered sev- 
eral pages of legal cap with old English law terms, 
then read the finished product to Kinney. It suited 


the latter entirely who seemed to like its legal verbi- 
age and he accepted the document. Thus Hastings 
paid, some say $25, others $50, of his long overdue 
board bill, and Kinney turned over his Iowa House, 
Bloomington 's first hostelry, to a new landlord. 

If the newcomer to Bloomington in 1839 was dis- 
satisfied with the accommodations and hospitality at 
Bob Kinney's tavern he could walk one block east 
and another north to the Lawson House located on 
what is now the corner of Iowa Avenue and Second 

This house, the second tavern in Bloomington, had 
been erected in 1837 for John Vanatta by William 
Gordon and half a dozen workmen who boarded at 
the Iowa House during the time of construction. 
Oak timber for this building was cut on and near the 
site where it stood. The shingles, weatherboards, 
framing timbers, and floors all were of oak hand- 

When completed, the house was a two-story affair 
about twenty by forty feet in size with a one-story 
kitchen forming an L at the rear. A double porch 
ran the entire length of the building on the Avenue 
side, the upper part being sheltered by the project- 
ing roof of the house. The porch and roof over it 
were supported by plain posts, and a railing ran 
along the front and sides of the upper veranda. 
There were doors above and below with windows on 
either side fronting the Avenue, and another door, 



on the corner near Second Street, afforded an en- 
trance on that side. A square wooden post with 
chamfered comers stood on the street corner sup- 
porting a lantern which burned fish or whale oil. All 
in all the new tavern with its light post sign was the 
most pretentious effect in the little town and the 
residents pointed with pride to their new hostelry. 

John Vanatta, a large, heavily built man who had 
been a captain in the Black Hawk War, opened a 
tavern in the new building as soon as it was com- 
pleted. However, he soon grew tired of the position 
of landlord and rented his hotel. In 1839 Josiah 
Parvin secured the Lawson House and began to give 
Bob Kinney real competition. 

Parvin, a kind-hearted courteous host, ran the 
hotel for a year when his greatly increased business 
made it necessary to build a new structure to accom- 
modate his guests. His own sociability and the 
friendliness of his accomplished family created a 
type of hospitality that brought guests to his tavern. 
Moreover, a table loaded with the best the times af- 
forded soon gave his establishment a reputation that 
extended up and down the river and to the interior 
of the new Territory. Consequently, he captured 
the lion's share of the hotel trade of Bloomington. 

Governor Lucas and his suite stopped with Land- 
lord Parvin in 1839 when they visited the new town. 
The presence of the tall, dignified Governor of Iowa 
Territory and his staff at the Lawson House was an 
honor indeed and it gave the place added prestige. 


It became the stopping place for all the notables 
who came to Bloomington. 

Parvin though pleasant and kindly was also ex- 
citable, and the boys took fully as much delight in 
baiting him as they did his rival, Bob Kinney. All 
that was necessary to send Josiah into an excitable 
tirade was to suggest that Andrew Jackson was dis- 
honorable. At such a time his vigorous language 
would attract a circle of amused listeners who would 
urge him on by other jibes at the Democrats. 

A third hostelry of early Muscatine was the pic- 
turesque and unique tavern kept by Captain James 
Palmer, which became known to the trade as ^ ^ Cap- 
tain Jim^s''. 

He occupied the one story frame house which 
stood back a little from the street, on the north side 
of what is now Second Street, about half way be- 
tween Iowa Avenue and Chestnut Street. This 
building had been begun by Suel Foster and his 
brother, a stone mason, in 1838, but not completed 
for want of lumber. They had built the basement of 
white stone blocks blasted and quarried out of the 
sandstone bluff. On this solid foundation they built 
the framework, studding, braces, joists, and rafters 
of split white oak. 

Judge Joseph Williams who had come to Bloom- 
ington and was looking for a home purchased the 
partially completed house from the Fosters and se- 
cured William Gordon, the builder of the Lawson 



House, to complete the work. When completed in 
1839 the house made a snug and commodious dwell- 
ing. The roof sloped down over a porch in front 
which was supported by plain posts or pillars, and 
several steps led up to this veranda. 

After the house came into the possession of Cap- 
tain James Palmer he ran the following notice in the 
Bloomington Herald: 


"Whereas, I, Capt. Jim, long a dispenser of food to the 
hungry and a couch to the weary, as well as a *'horn" to 
the dry, having taken possession of that large and com- 
modious house on Second street, Bloomington, Iowa, for- 
merly the residence of His Hon. J. Williams, do hereby 
declare and make known to the world that I am now pre- 
pared at the sign of Capt. Jim, to accommodate those who 
may call upon me, in a satisfactory manner, otherwise they 
go scot free. That the statement may the more fully 
prove true, I hereby declare and make known that the fol- 
lowing are my charges, for all of which the best the market 
can afford are furnished. 

Single meal 


Board per day with 

lodging 75 

Three days, per day 


Per week 

3 00 

One horse feed 


Horse per night 


Horse per week 

1 621/2 

All other bills in proportion. I, the said Capt. Jim, do 
hereby further declare to those indebted to me for eating, 
sleeping, drinking, or upon contract of any kind whatso- 
ever, that unless they come forward immediately and make 


settlement, Michael Scot was never in Scotland if I don't 
send a constable after them to bring them to *'taw'\ So 
look out for Conklin or Ward. 

Thankful for past favors, he hopes to receive a share of 
public patronage corresponding with his efforts to minister 
to the tastes and render comfortable those who may favor 
him with their patronage. 

Capt. Jim Palmer. 

Captain Jim like Bob Kinney was a large fat old 
fellow and he was a good customer at Ms own bar. 
His place was not as quiet as the Iowa House but, 
nevertheless, it was a good place to stop, for the 
bluff old landlord treated the stranger who had no 
money as well as the man who had plenty. His tav- 
ern was a favorite loafing place for the boys who 
wanted to smoke, to swap yarns, and to get a drink, 
but Captain Jim, while enjoying his fun with the 
rest, usually kept his customers in hand. 

His sign hung some twelve feet above the ground 
on the ugliest piece of timber obtainable, a crooked 
stick about eight inches in diameter. Crooked 
branches about twenty inches long had been left 
sticking out at irregular intervals to embellish the 
main stock. This sign of Captain Jim's was easily 
the most prominent object on Second Street. 

Dan Eice, the old showman, relates that the first 
time he played Bloomington early in the forties, he 
stopped at ^^Capt. Jim's'* with his troupe and ar- 
ranged to give his performance in the tavern. The 
landlord suspicious of the showman's financial 
status demanded his pay in advance but agreed to 



wait when Eice offered to make him doorkeeper and 
ticket seller for the show. Rice, therefore, proceed- 
ed to stage his exhibition. 

When the show was over Rice asked Captain Jim 
for the money but the host hadn't a cent. He knew 
everybody in Bloomington and everybody knew him, 
and being of a generous and accommodating dispo- 
sition, he did not have the heart to charge his friends 
admission. Consequently he had no receipts for 
Rice and the latter had no funds with which to pay 
his lodging. 

Thus did the bluff old Captain along with his con- 
temporaries dispense hospitality in the early days 
of Muscatine, and perhaps in some respects his tav- 
ern surpassed the others in conviviality. 

These three taverns of Bloomington were typical 
of the early Territorial lodging places and are 
unique only in the fact that incidents which occurred 
in them have been preserved. Their fireplaces fur- 
nishing warmth and cheer on wintry evenings, their 
tallow dips in tin reflectors hung on the wall and af- 
fording feeble illumination, their total lack of the 
comforts of the modern hotels, were duplicated in 
every town of the Territory. Governor Lucas found 
no better conveniences or greater hospitality in his 
swing around the Territory he governed than he did 
at Bloomington. The taverns and their landlords 
everywhere were conspicuous and always played a 
prominent part in the pioneer drama. 

Bruce E. Mahan 

Comment by the Editor 


It was not for the information or tlie entertain- 
ment of those who lived in the countries they de- 
scribed that the little fat red books full of fact and 
historic lore and legend and description used to ap- 
pear, but for the enlightenment of those who might 
come from afar. So in the early days when Iowa 
was the goal of tourist and emigrant, there appeared 
little pocket-size books, slender but full of optimism, 
and usually accompanied by that most alluring of 
all baits — a bright-colored folding map. 

They were usually published in New York or 
Philadelphia ; they had wide circulation in the east, 
and some of them found publication and circulation 
in England and other European countries. They 
constitute in all a goodly number of volumes, but 
there is time before we come to the last page of this 
sketch to take down from the shelf and examine at 
least one of those handbooks which were published 
in the Territorial days. 

The most interesting of all is probably the earli- 
est. The copy before us — one of a very few in 
existence — ^is a thin paper-bound volume not quite 
four by six inches in size. On the blue stained cover 
one reads : Notes on the Wisconsin Territory; par- 
ticularly with reference to the Iowa District or Black 




Hawh Purchase. It is the work of Lientenant Albert 
M. Lea, of the United States Dragoons, and bears 
the date of 1836. The title is somewhat misleading 
for the content of the book, save for a copy of the act 
establishing the government of the Territory of Wis- 
consin, deals with the part of the Territory lying 
west of the Mississippi River, a tract of land which 
here has associated with it for the first time the 
name of Iowa. 

Lieutenant Albert M. Lea had travelled over much 
of the country he describes, in company with the 
United States Dragoons in the summer of 1835, and 
he tells us in a preface that he **has been sedulous in 
collecting information from surveyors, traders, ex- 
plorers, and residents. ' ' 

In forty-two pages and a map he gives to the world 
this information. He locates the land and describes 
the climate and the seasons, all of which he finds 
charming. He commends the soil, but not being a 
prophet he does not do it full justice. He waxes 
eloquent, however, when he describes the general 
appearance of the country'*. The products, the wild 
game, the population, trade, government and land 
titles he touches with a facile and enthusiastic pen. 

One chapter deals with Water Courses and the 
final one with Remarks upon Towns, Landings and 
Roads'*, wherein we find familiar names and some 
that are not so familiar. Under the heading **Ka- 
sey's", we learn that **A gentleman of this name 
intends laying out a town at the head of the Musca- 


tine Slue." Next comes the name *^Iowa". **This 
is the name of a town to be laid out at the mouth of 
Pine river, about 330 miles above Saint Louis. 
Lieutenant Lea has great hopes for this town. *^It 
possesses the most convenient landing from Burling- 
ton to the head of the Upper Rapids; and no place 
could be better adapted to the erection of buildings. 
The harbour of Pine river runs through the town, 
affording good landings on both sides; and boats 
may land anywhere on the Mississippi shore, for a 
mile and a half above the mouth of Pine. ' ' And he 
is so impressed with its location that he remarks: 
^ * Should the seat of Government of the future State 
of Iowa be located on the Mississippi, it would prob- 
ably be fixed at Iowa. ' ' On a modern map we have 
located Pine Eiver, or rather Pine Creek, ten miles 
above Muscatine, but no town named **Iowa'' seems 
to be yet ranged along its harbour. 

The lieutenant mentions Parkhurst and says : * ^ Of 
this place, not yet laid out, it is sufficient to say that 
the site is beautiful, the landing good, building ma- 
terial convenient, and the back country fine. There 
is nothing wanting to make it a town but the people 
and the houses, and these will soon be there." The 
town of Parkhurst did actually materialize but it 
soon merged with Le Claire and lost its original 
name. Burlington, Dubuque and Davenport each 
has a paragraph or two, and so have Throckmor- 
ton's Landing, and Clark's Ferry, Catfish, and 



In spite of its early date no book with the same 
amount of information appeared for at least five 
years. Yet to Albert M. Lea it was only meant as a 
beginning. ^^The reader will perceive'', he says in 
his preface, **that the following ^ Notes,' are con- 
fined to such subjects only as are interesting, partic- 
ularly to the emigrant, the speculator, and the legis- 
lator. The author reserves for another work, the 
notice of such topics connected with that country, as 
are better suited to the more general reader. ' ' Un- 
happily Lea never fulfilled the promise which his 
good intentions led him to make. 

J. C. P. 


# ■ 



A Day, at New Mell^ay 265 

The Trappists in Europe 293 

The Ab^y in Iowa . , 3Q0 

The Life of the Trappists 306 

Bruce £. MaAan 

Comment 310 

The Editor 

ysHEDMoOTHn^Ar lowAQrir By 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete ; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

/OL. Ill Issued in September 1922 No. 9 


A Day at New Melleray 

For some time as we travelled along the Old 
Vlilitary Eoad we had been watching for the first 
glimpse of the Abbey of New Melleray where Trap- 
pist monks under a rule of silence live a life of Old 
World fervor. Suddenly, as we rounded a bend in 
;he road we saw over the tops of the intervening 
lills the gleam of the red and gray slate roof of the 
nonastery. As we turned off the main highway and 
surmounted these hills we came again and again into 
'ull view of what seemed like a Gothic building of 
nediaeval Europe. Its white stone walls with 
irched windows, its buttresses and spires and orna- 
nental chimneys were set on the crest of a hill within 
I frame of trees and green fields. In reality it was 
leither mediaeval nor European: the background 
was an Iowa landscape near Dubuque, and the time 
was June of 1922. We were coming in a motor car 
to spend a day at this house of silence. 




The road wound past the red brick parish church 
with its nearby cemetery, down a short hill, and 
over a small stream to the outer gate of the monas- 
tery park. A sign at the side read: *^No Visitors 
Allowed on Sunday But on this day the open 
gate foretold our welcome. Through the wide gate- 
way we turned the car, thence up a winding, tree- 
lined driveway, and came to a stop in front of an 
inner gate of the park just outside a long, two-story 
building which later we learned was the lodge or 
guest house. 

No one was in sight at first, but in a moment or 
two a black pony ridden by a man in a white robe 
and black scapular emerged from a pine grove at 
the foot of the hill and, galloping at full speed up 
the hillside, disappeared behind the barns to the 
north of us. In a short time the rider reappeared 
walking toward us from the stable where he had left 
the pony. As he drew near we climbed out of the 
car to greet him. A man of striking appearance he 
was in his priestly robes, his face covered with a 
dark-brown pointed beard, his feet shod in white 
woolen stockings and heavy low shoes. 

Father Eugene listened respectfully while I ex- 
plained my errand and asked if I might spend a day 
at the monastery. Assuring me that I was welcome, 
he then asked the make of car in which we had come 
and volunteered the information that he had only 
recently learned to run the Hupmobile belonging to 
the monastery. Speaking in a rich brogue, which 


confirmed his statement that he had come from Ire- 
land within the year, he said: have trouble fre- 
quently with the Hupmobile. The garage man says 
it is in perfect mechanical condition but in spite of 
that sometimes it won 't go. ' ^ 

With a twinkle in his blue eyes he turned to me 
and asked: **You might be thinking of joining us, 
perhaps ? ' ' My answer that a wife and son disquali- 
fied me, even if I wished to do so, brought a genial 
chuckle entirely inconsistent with an austere outlook 
on the things of the world which a life of daily piety 
might be expected to produce. 

In reply to our question as to how many monks 
there were at New Melleray, he said: Twenty-four 
now — not enough to do all the work on the estate, 
and so we hire from fifteen to eighteen farm hands 
to help in the busy season.'' The farm, he ex- 
plained, included some three thousand acres, a large 
part of it timber, pasture land, and extensive mead- 
ows, with three hundred acres planted in corn and 
small grain. He told us that the Abbot, Father 
Alberic, had died in 1917, that no successor had been 
elected by the community, and that Father Bruno 
Ryan who had arrived from Ireland in 1914 was the 
Superior or Acting Abbot. 

My friends who had brought me to the monastery 
departed for Dubuque, and Father Eugene sug- 
gested that he would take me to Brother Bernard, 
the Guest Brother, who would show me anything I 
wished to see. Accordingly we entered the unlocked 


gate of the park, which is accessible to both men and 
women, and passed through the side entrance of the 
lodge into a hallway. The pious Father asked me to 
wait in a room that opened off the hallway until he 
could find Brother Bernard ; then silently he left me, 
moving away with a swinging stride developed per- 
haps by pacing the cloister. I looked at my watch. 
It was ten o'clock. My day with the Trappists had 

I sat in a narrow room furnished with a kneeling 
bench at one end and a reading desk at the other 
above which hung a silver crucifix. In the center of 
the room extended a long table, oil cloth topped, with 
several chairs on either side. This room, I learned 
later, was used on Sundays as a meeting place for 
the farm laborers to listen to instruction by one of 
the priests of the abbey. In a few minutes there 
appeared in the doorway a bearded figure in a brown 
habit, who welcomed me warmly. His beard and 
close-cropped hair were of a reddish tint, his eyes 
blue, his manner mild and friendly. He told me he 
was Brother Bernard whose duty it was to meet the 
guests and to cook for the hired men, and asked me 
what I wished to see first, suggesting that I plan to 
return for dinner at eleven-thirty. 

I asked if I might see the Superior. He motioned 
me to follow and, passing out through the screen 
door of the lodge, he led me to an ornamental wood- 
en gateway surmounted by a cross. This gate he 
unlocked, explaining that although women were per- 



mitted to enter the park none but men were ever 
allowed to enter the inner grounds of the monastery 
which were surrounded by a fence. Upon my re- 
marking that it was a wonder some women didn't 
climb over, he replied that only a short time before 
an automobile with two women and two men had 
arrived while he was busy in the guest house and 
that before he could get outside the girls had climbed 
over the gate and the men had followed. Great was 
the conmiotion among the monks when they saw the 
women and Brother Bernard hurried the intruders 
from the enclosure. 

Inside the enclosure I noticed several monks in the 
white habit and black scapular of the choir brothers 
hoeing down small weeds and raking the gravel 
pathways. One of these my guide pointed out as 
Father Bruno, the Superior. Trembling a bit in- 
wardly as to my reception by the head of the abbey 
I removed my hat and addressed him, explaining my 
errand and showing him a copy of The Palimpsest. 
While he looked at it with interest, the rest of the 
monks went on with their work, paying no attention 
whatever to the intrusion. Then in a soft, melodious 
voice tinged with a brogue even richer than that of 
Father Eugene he made me welcome and asked me 
to excuse him a moment while he changed his heavy 
work shoes and hung up his wide-brimmed straw 

While he was gone I sat on one of the wooden 
benches in the cool shade of the pine trees and looked 



about at a scene so strange that it seemed nnreal. 
Here was the Gothic abbey with its pointed windows 
and doors, its ornamental buttresses, its slate roof 
and belfries, and its octagonal stone water-tower 
surmounted by a wrought iron fence. About the 
grounds were monks in white and monks in brown, 
mowing the thick turf of the grass plots, smoothing 
the gravel walks, trimming the deep-green arbor 
vitae hedge along the east side of the enclosure, and 
removing dead limbs from the pine trees. 

A few minutes later Father Bruno beckoned to me 
from the east doorway of the abbey. As I entered 
he told me in a quiet, friendly tone that I could take 
any pictures I wished. His affable manner and 
sympathetic interest made me feel that Cistercian 
hospitality had not dimmed through the centuries. 

First he led me through an entrance hall to the 
end of one of the long narrow cloisters, its green- 
tinted walls lighted by the sunshine streaming 
through narrow arched windows along one side. No 
pictures or statues relieved the bareness of the walls. 
Only a small sign which read, SILENCE'*, re- 
minded the visitor of the practice of the order. 

From the cloister we entered a little chapel dedi- 
cated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed 
Virgin. Two altars in white and gold, two statues 
— one of the Savior and the other of Mary — the 
pale blue walls and white ceiling heavily paneled 
with oak, and seats that matched the woodwork cre- 
ated a charming picture. 



Next w6 visited the chapter room where the monks 
sit on low benches along the paneled side walls to 
hear the Abbot or Superior expound the Eule of St. 
Benedict or read the Martyrology. His elevated 
throne is at the end of the room and is covered with 
a carved wooden canopy. In this room the monks 
confess their violations of the Rule and receive their 
penance; and here, too, the assignments of the day 
are made by the Superior whose word is law in the 
community. Obedience is a vow which no Cistercian 
repudiates. A large, oval-topped table extends 
crosswise of the room at the end opposite the throne, 
and here on the benches along each side the monks 
sit and study during the hours for meditation and 

We took our leave in silence for an old, grey- 
bearded monk was reverently making the Stations 
of the Cross, silently praying before the framed pic- 
tures along the two side walls that depicted the 
fourteen stages of the road to Calvary. The soft 
light filtering through the stained glass windows 
upon the oak beamed ceiling and paneled walls 
painted a picture of sanctity beyond the doorway. 

Upstairs we climbed, passing through the sacristy 
where the vestments and sacred vessels are kept, 
thence across the hall to the dormitory which occu- 
pies almost the entire second floor of the long wing 
of the abbey. I expected to see a dismal, cheerless 
place with planks for beds in a tiny darkened cell, 
for such was the impression I had brought to the 



monastery. Instead there stretched before me a 
room at least one hundred and eighty feet long, with 
white side walls and blue, vaulted ceiling supported 
by massive walnut rafters. Many windows along 
each side supplied light and ventilation. A wide 
aisle extended down the center of the room, and on 
both sides, arranged in perfect alignment, were the 
cubicles or cells where the monks slept. Each cell 
was a box-like affair, stained dark, about seven feet 
long, four feet wide, and six feet high, and separated 
from the next in line by an interval of three feet. 
Within each cubicle a couch extended the entire 
length. Cross-slats of wood formed the support for 
a straw-filled mattress some three inches thick. On 
this was spread neatly a coarse sheet, two clean wool 
blankets, and a straw-filled bolster pillow, making a 
bed fully as comfortable as the regulation army cot 
or camp bed. Each cell contained, besides the couch, 
a holy water font and hooks for hanging the habit 
and hat. The cells were open at the top and a white 
curtain hung in front of each one that was occupied. 
Floors, cells, and bedding were spotlessly clean. 

From the dormitory we descended the stairway to 
the first floor and thence down another flight of steps 
to the basement to visit the refectory or dining hall 
of the monks. In passing I noted the heavy founda- 
tion walls nearly four feet thick and the unoccupied 
portion of the basement extending under the chapel 
and chapter room. In the kitchen we found Brother 
Declan, the cook, preparing the mid-day meal. He 




greeted the Superior with a bow, but spoke no word 
and turned back to his task of picking over lettuce. 
Heavy white dishes filled the drying racks along the 
wall of the scullery, and shining pots and pans hung 
on pegs beside the large range stove. 

Through a door at the side of the scullery we 
entered the refectory, a severely plain room lighted 
by basement windows along one side. Across the 
end opposite the entrance stood a table with three 
straight backed chairs behind it, occupied at meal- 
time, my guide informed me, by the Superior, the 
Prior, and the Sub-Prior. Four plain tables with 
legs painted white and tops scrubbed clean lined 
each side of the room, behind which on oak stools or 
benches sit the monks at mealtime with their backs 
to the wall. At each place was a small name plate, 
a heavy cup, a steel knife, fork, and spoon, a brown 
earthenware pitcher, a salt cellar, and a large white 
canvas napkin. During the meal this napkin is 
spread out and the dishes placed upon it. Beside 
each place was a plate on which w^ere two slices of 
bread — one white, one brown — and a small dish of 
honey. The dinner or principal meal of the day. 
Father Bruno said, would consist of bean soup, pota- 
toes, lettuce, bread, butter, and coffee with milk and 
sugar added. 

At dinner one of the monks would sit at the 
lectern or reading desk which stood by a Avindow 
midway along one side wall and read from the Bible 
and some other pious book. Father Bruno opened 



the desk and bfought out for my inspection a Vul- 
gate edition of the Bible dated 1688 and printed at 
Venice. Another book — a heavy leather tome — 
proved to be a collection of sermons and instructions 
written in beautiful penmanship by a monk at Melle- 
ray, France, in 1827. While I was admiring the 
handwriting and commenting on the immense amount 
of time it must have taken to prepare such a volume, 
the ringing of the chapel bell called my guide to his 
duties in the church and we parted company, he 
ascending the stairs to help chant that part of the 
Divine Office called Sext, and I leaving the monas- 
tery to return to the lodge for dinner. 

The overall-clad farm hands had already returned 
from the fields and were standing beside the sturdy 
draft horses at the watering trough or were lolling 
in the shade on the lawn. The staccato bark of the 
gasoline engine pumping water shattered the ordi- 
nary stillness of the place. At eleven-thirty the 
ringing of a dinner bell by Brother Bernard sum- 
moned the men and myself to a large, plain room on 
the first floor of the old building where the monks 
lived while the stone abbey was being built. Here 
the laborers are now housed and fed. We sat down 
around a long table covered with a white oil-cloth, 
before a well cooked and wholesome meal of boiled 
potatoes, eggs, lettuce, baked beans, brown and white 
bread, butter, rhubarb sauce, and tea — not a dainty 
dinner but one that satisfied. 

When dinner was finished the eighteen men went 


outside and lay down in the shade to rest until 
twelve-thirty when again they watered the horses 
and set out to the work of plowing corn and making 
hay. While Brother Bernard and his helper cleared 
away the remains of the meal and washed the heavy 
dishes, I followed Brother Camillus, the farm boss, 
in his task of directing the afternoon work. He was 
a short, stocky man wearing a pair of heavy cow- 
hide boots and an old gray slouch hat, his brown 
habit held up to his heavy belt by a chain and 
leather cord on each side. Something about his size 
and walk, or perhaps it was his black beard tinged 
with grey or his crispness in giving orders and meet- 
ing the problems of the afternoon, reminded me of 
the appearance of General Grant. 

A laborer approached and reported that the cows 
had broken through the fence of the pasture where a 
corner post had rotted off. With a few curt ques- 
tions, Brother Camillus learned of the exact damage 
done and what would be needed for repairs; then 
striding to the carpenter shop he asked a workman 
to take a hammer, wire stretcher, staples, and a new 
post to replace the broken one. A conference with a 
horse buyer from Dubuque resulted in the sale of 
three fine four-year-old colts. 

This seemed to be a favorable time to take some 
pictures ; and so, while waiting for the Guest Brother 
to finish his work, I started out to explore the farm 
buildings. Half way up the hill northwest of the 
lodge were the charred remains and blackened stone 



foundations of the large horse bam recently de- 
stroyed by fire. The loss was heavy. Fifteen of the 
sturdy work horses had perished in the blaze and 
tons of hay and large bins of small grain were 
totally destroyed. Nothing remained of the huge 
structure except the limestone foundation — a rec- 
tangular basement some fifty feet wide and three 
hundred feet long. 

A modern corn crib with a driveway through the 
center and cribs on each side, the outside of the 
structure painted white and trimmed in red, stood 
inside the feed lot east of the ruins of the barn. A 
gallery extended the entire length along the south 
side from wliich corn could be scooped into the 
cement-floored feeding pens for hogs below. 

Northeast of the corn crib two well ventilated cow 
barns equipped with stanchions around the sides 
with space for hay in the middle disclosed the care 
taken of the cows which furnish a large part of the 
food supply of the institution. Windmills provided 
a supply of cold water for each of the barns and 
the hog lot. The white walls trimmed in green, the 
metal roofs, and the cupolas of the cow barns were 
conspicuous in the setting of pine and maple trees. 

Between the cow barns and the lodge was located 
a stone one-story carpenter shop where the aged 
carpenter was at work repairing some broken farm 

Observing Brother Bernard come out of the lodge 
and sit down on one of the benches in the park, I 



rejoined him there and for the next hour bothered 
him with questions which he graciously answered. 
He said that from Easter until September the monks 
take a siesta or afternoon nap from twelve-thirty to 
one-thirty; but since his duties as Guest Brother 
require him to stay awake during the siesta he is 
permitted to sleep until three o 'clock in the morning, 
thereby getting his seven hours of sleep at night. 
From September until Easter the monks retire an 
hour earlier at night and dispense with the siesta 
during the day. 

I asked about the churning and laundry work. He 
answered that both are done by electricity now, and 
that the old building which I saw to the east, and 
which in the fifties had been the monastery, housed 
the laundry and the bake shop. When I remarked 
about the beauty and well kept appearance of the 
trees in the park he told me that many varieties were 
represented there — the hemlock, the larch, the Nor- 
way spruce, both hard and soft maple, the basswood, 
and the white pine. 

At his suggestion we set out to look at the shrub- 
bery, flowers, and trees of the park and the enclo- 
sure. We were the only figures astir at this drowsy 
hour of early afternoon — the farm hands had dis- 
appeared to the fields and the monks were asleep in 
their cells. We strolled past the new cemetery where 
a huge granite cross marks the grave of the late 
Abbot, Father Alberic, and small, plain iron crosses 
inscribed with the names of the monks and the date 



of their death, face the rising sun in rows. Brother 
Bernard denied the tale I had heard that as soon as 
one monk dies a grave is dug for the next and that 
each day a shovelful of earth is turned to remind the 
monks of death. The idea sprang, perhaps, from the 
fact that when a member of the community is buried 
the place for the next grave is marked out but not 
dug. I 

Along the fence of the new cemetery rows of salvia 
were growing which in the fall would raise their 
flaming spikes in blossom, and wild flowers, blood- 
root, and sweet william joined the roses and peonies 
in decorating the burying ground. We turned our 
steps into the avenue of tall pine trees which, ex- 
tending east, then north, then east again, joined the 
abbey with the orchard and passed one of the exten- 
sive gardens and the vineyard. Overhead the inter- 
locking branches formed an arch and made a shady, 
silent, outdoor cloister. The June sunshine break- 
ing through fell in bright splotches on the walk 
strewn with pine needles and packed hard by years 
of use. 

Eeturning, we passed along the well trimmed 
arbor vitae hedge — a close packed wall of green 
over eight feet high and six feet thick at the base 
tapering to a rounded top. Extending for two hun- 
dred yards along the east side of the park and 
enclosure, it formed one of the beauty spots of the 
monastery grounds. Close by the eastern door of 
the abbey another hedge of the same type enclosed 



the old burying ground where twenty-six iron 
crosses mark the graves of the monks who first came 
to New Melleray in 1849. Within this hallowed spot 
the grass was closely cropped over the graves whose 
tops were level with the aisles between them. Two 
rose bushes and four flaming peonies added a touch 
of brighter color to the green of the lawn and hedge. 
A white, wooden cross set in the center of the square 
towered above the encircling wall. 

We had returned to the benches when the bell on 
the abbey tower summoned the monks from their 
siesta to the church to recite the Office of None, after 
which they would work for two hours outside. When 
I expressed a desire to see the gardens Brother 
Bernard said that he would turn me over to Father 
J ohn, the gardener, as soon as he appeared. As we 
sat down the sound of the chanting of None could be 
heard through the open windows of the church. 

Soon after the sound died away the monks in white 
and monks in brown emerged one by one from the 
doors of the monastery — most of them wearing 
wide-brimmed straw hats, all with the lower part of 
the robe held up by a chain and strap arrangement 
fastened to the heavy leather belt. Silently they 
went about the tasks assigned to them by the Supe- 
rior. Brother Stanislaus, the bee-keeper, inspected 
his gable-roofed, cupola-topped hives; Brother 
Kieran, the herdsman, strode off to the cow barns ; 
while Brother Patrick, the baker, departed to the 
bake shop to finish the work of the day. My guide 



pointed out Father John, and I caught up with him 
as he trudged with his hoe under his arm down the 
pine walk to the gardens. 

He was a stalwart man and gray bearded; sixty- 
nine years of age, he said. For twenty-five years he 
had been a parish priest in Wisconsin before he 
joined the Cistercians. He took considerable pride 
in the gardens; and just cause he had, for they 
showed the careful attention of an expert. Long 
straight rows of lettuce, parsnips, carrots, onions, 
early and late cabbage, tomatoes, sweetcorn, and 
beans filled two plots; cucumbers and melons grew 
in another; while potatoes occupied a third. He 
showed me his tobacco patch where thrifty plants 
were making a healthy growth, then the vineyard 
from which the monks sold over seven thousand 
pounds of grapes last season. Prospects for another 
big crop were good. Before prohibition, he said, 
wine was made for the refreshment of visitors and 
for the brothers but now only enough was produced 
for altar purposes, the rest of the grapes being sold. 
Blackberries grew wild in the timber, so that it was 
unnecessary to cultivate them. 

We passed through the orchards loaded with tiny 
apples of this year's crop and went on past the rhu- 
barb bed which filled half the space of one of the 
large garden plots. Ahead of us an elderly monk 
was trimming the dead branches of a tree with a 
hand saw. Father John remarked: Brother Nich- 
olas there is eighty-nine years old. He can eat as 



good a meal as any man in the house. Of course he 
hasn any teeth, but he slides it down just the same. 
He will take a bowl of soup with onions in it and 
digest it perfectly. Sure, it would kill me to do it. ' ' 

We chatted awhile about the best sprays to kill 
insects and the best varieties of vegetables to raise. 
Then, leaving Father John hoeing a dust mulch 
around the late cabbage, I started out to visit the 
saw mill and blacksmith shop. 

The whir of a circular saw in the mill, shaping 
logs into lumber for some of the nearby farmers, 
mingled with the ringing of steel on steel in the 
blacksmith shop. Through the doorway of the latter 
I saw the figure of the brother standing in the ruddy 
glow of the forge, his arms bare, the picture of 
strength, and it seemed hard to realize that all the 
brawn and muscle which stood out upon his corded 
arms was the result of a diet of milk, bread, and 
vegetables with no meat or fish. As I entered the 
doorway he looked up and smiled, but spoke no 
word, and went on with his task of welding a broken 
iron rod. 

Eetracing my steps to the enclosure I was admit- 
ted through the locked gate by Father Eugene who 
had returned from a business trip to the little town 
of Peosta, the post office of New Melleray. His 
duties as Procurator or business manager occasion- 
ally take him on trips to Dubuque or neighboring 
towns to sell the surplus products of the community, 
to purchase the few necessities not raised upon the 



estate, to pay the taxes, or to buy needed macMnery. 
He led me to a guest room in the downstairs portion 
of the east wing of the main building which we 
reached by entering a side door and passing through 
a hall. Then he excused himself to bring me some 
books and pamphlets dealing with the subject of 
monastic life in general and the Trappists in par- 

The room assigned me for the night by the Supe- 
rior was clean and furnished with a single bed, a 
walnut dresser, a round-topped reading table, a 
rocker, and two straight backed chairs upholstered 
with horsehair cloth. All of the furniture was of 
the period of 1850 to 1860 ; it reminded me of one of 
the sets in John Drinkwater's play, Abraham 
Lincoln'', and would have delighted the heart of a 
collector of antiques. On the wall hung a picture of 
the Blessed Virgin, another of the Savior, one of St. 
Augustine, and a fourth showing a group of Cister- 
cians in company with the Cardinal Protector of the 
Order. The bed composed of a mattress, clean 
sheets, a pillow, white blankets, and covered Avith a 
white spread proved to be comfortable. A small rug 
lay on the floor beside it. 

I had scarcely explored the room when Father 
Eugene returned with reading material, saying that 
Vespers* would begin soon in the main chapel or 
church upstairs and that supper would be served me 
in the dining room for guests immediately after the 
Vesper service ended. While we talked the tolling 



of the chapel bell announced the hour for the last 
devotions of the afternoon. Together we paced the 
length of the cloister and climbed the stairs to the 
church in silence. Father Eugene left me to invest 
himself in the long white cowl with flowing sleeves 
worn by the choir brothers when they say the Divine 
Office, and I entered the single doorway of the 

Opposite the door an altar finished in white with 
blue and gold ornamentation reached almost to the 
heavy, dark-stained rafters that stretched across 
the nave under the vaulted roof. Above the altar 
hung a large framed painting of the Savior cruci- 
fied ; on the left, a picture of the Blessed Virgin ; on 
the right, one of the Good Shepherd. The absence 
of an altar railing emphasized the length of the 
nave ; except for the fact that the altar was elevated 
two steps and the choir stalls one, there was no 
break in the floor space from the altar to the door- 

On both sides of the church extended the stalls of 
the choir brothers, elevated some eight inches from 
the floor, and in front of them were placed the semi- 
circular stalls of the lay brothers, six of the former 
and twelve of the latter on each side. Two stalls at 
right angles to the others faced the altar, and be- 
tween them and the door extended ten pews with 
kneeling benches. In the center of the aisle between 
the stalls stood a small reed organ ; and in front, at 
the left of the altar, a pipe organ occupied the space. 



The soft pink tint of the side walls and the blue of 
the vaulted ceiling blended pleasantly with the dark 
stained woodwork and the oak furniture. 

As soon as the choir brothers, all in white, had 
filed into the church and taken their stations in the 
choir stalls they loosened the heavy brass clasps of 
the huge Psalters and began the odd and fascinating 
chant-like recitation of the Office. The lay brothers 
in brown stood in their circular stalls below and in 
front of the choir, facing each other across the aisle 
of the nave, earnestly praying and joining in the 
responses. Longfellow's poem, **King Eobert of 
Sicily'', came to my mind as I recognized an occa- 
sional ^'Gloria Patri", an **Ave Maria", and heard 
the priests chant the * ^ Magnificat When the Ves- 
per Office ended the monks prayed silently for about 
ten minutes until the bell rang again, and then 
quietly followed the Superior to their supper. 

I had scarcely returned to my room when a brown- 
clad brother entered and motioned me to follow him. 
He led me down the hallway and through a door into 
a narrow, high-ceilinged dining room where he had 
already laid out my supper on the oval-topped table. 
Here, too, the furniture was of the Civil War period. 
A walnut, hand-carved cupboard with drawers below 
and glass doors above stood in one corner: the table, 
also of walnut and covered with a snowy cloth, filled 
the center of the room. Six dining room chairs of 
the low, square-backed, cane-seated type, and a 
square serving table completed the furnishings of 


the room. The brother withdrew to the refectory 
for his simple meal of bread and butter, lettuce, tea 
with milk and sugar, and honey while I ate heartily 
the hot supper of potatoes, poached eggs, bread and 
butter, blackberry jam, tea, angel food cake, and 
fruit. Again the far-famed hospitality of Cister- 
cians to their guests was demonstrated. 

A little while after I returned to my room my 
courteous host. Father Bruno, entered to tell me to 
sleep as late as I wished in the morning and to bid 
me good-night, for, he explained, after the evening 
service of Compline, the monks retired to their cells 
without speaking a word. Upon my expressing a 
desire to arise at two o'clock to follow through the 
religious part of a Trappist's day he graciously 
assented to see that I was awakened, and after ex- 
plaining that Compline would begin ten minutes 
after the ringing of a little bell which summoned the 
monks to Chapter for meditation, he left me to send 
Father Eugene to my room with an alarm clock. My 
genial Irish visitor and I discussed the founding and 
the history of the Cistercians until the bell called 
him to Chapter. 

After a few minutes I strolled down the cloister 
and ascended the stairway to the church where 
promptly at seven the brothers followed. Each one 
as he arrived at his place in the choir saluted the 
Blessed Sacrament with a profound bow. When the 
last tone of the bell announcing Compline died away, 
all the monks faced the altar, made the sign of the 



cross and, bowing again towards the tabernacle, be- 
gan the solemn and beautiful chanting of the last 
part of the Divine Office. 

The slow, deep-toned chant of the Latin with 
pauses between the verses, the humble bow when the 
words Gloria patri, filii, et spiritus sancti'' were 
reached, and the slowly fading light of evening 
which dimmed the huge rafters and the vaulted roof 
produced an effect of great solemnity. Except for 
the green-shaded electric reading lamps that threw 
their rays on the open pages of the huge Psalters 
and made it possible for the monks to read the words 
and notes standing back in their stalls three feet 
away from the desk, the scene was a reproduction of 
a monastic chapel of the Middle Ages. 

The chorus singing of the famous Salve Eegina** 
closed Compline — the blending of the rich tenor 
and bass voices of the monks in the slow deliberate 
tones of this anthem creating a strain of passionate 
fervor and pleading. As the last notes of the song 
died away the chapel bell chimed in, ringing the 
Angelus, and each brother prostrated himself with 
head bowed low to recite it silently. All joined then 
in repeating six ^*Our Fathers six **Hail Marys*', 
and six Glorias'', followed by the reciting of **The 
Litany of the Blessed Virgin". After a few min- 
utes spent in pious examination of conscience the 
monks filed out in pairs. They were sprinkled with 
holy water by the Superior as they passed him at the 
doorway and bowed a silent good-night on their way 


to their cells. At this time all refrain from speak- 
ing, even to guests: *Hhe great silence'* leaves their 
minds wholly free to think of God. 

I followed the procession and turning downstairs 
passed through the now darkened cloister to my 
room. At eight o'clock all lights in the monastery 
save my reading lamp were out ; all sound except the 
scratching of my pen and the rustle of my notes 
were hushed; all inhabitants of the abbey were in 
bed except the guest. For two hours I jotted down 
impressions of the day and skimmed through the 
booklets left by my genial host. The hands of the 
**Big Ben'' pointed to ten o'clock when I snapped 
off the light and settled down for a four-hour sleep. 

It seemed that I had hardly closed my eyes when 
the raucous jingle of the alarm jerked me wide 
awake. Two o'clock! The Trappist's day had be- 
gun. I stepped across the pitch dark hallway to the 
bathroom and bathed my face in cold water to drive 
away the lingering desire to sleep another hour or 
two ; then dressing hastily, I groped my way along 
the cloister and up the darkened stairway to the 

The monks had already risen and had come to the 
chapel. Their morning toilet had been short, for 
they had slept fully dressed except that their shoes 
had been laid aside. The lay brothers were in their 
places and the choir monks, white-clad and ghost- 
like in their stalls, were intoning the opening verses 
of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin from mem- 



ory. Save for the dim rays of the new moon which 
filtered faintly through the stained glass windows 
and the little tabernacle lamp that shed its reddish 
glow upon the altar, the church was in darkness. 
As the clock struck two-thirty the monks began half 
an hour of silent prayer that ended when the first 
faint light of early dawn began to make visible the 
objects within the chapel. At three the reading 
lamps were snapped on, the large Psalters were 
opened, and the chanting of Matins and Lauds of 
the Divine Office was begun. This lasted until four 
o'clock when each monk prostrated himself to say 
the Angelus. Then the lights were turned off and 
they all filed out, leaving the church silent and empty 
in the gray dawn. 

A few minutes later a lay brother reentered and 
went slowly to the altar, genuflected, and proceeded 
to light the two candles prescribed for low mass and 
a third for the missal. A hooded priest, followed 
by a second lay brother carrying the missal, ap- 
proached the altar where he celebrated mass assisted 
by his brown-clad server. At the conclusion of the 
prayers that follow this sacrifice the celebrant and 
his server retired to the sacristy, and another choir 
monk and his assistant took their place to say a sec- 
ond mass. At the same time the other brothers in 
Holy Orders were celebrating mass in the smaller 
chapels across the hall and in the charming chapel 
beside the chapter room below. At these masses the 
lay brothers received Holy Communion. 



When the masses were finished the monks returned 
to the church to recite Prime, both in the Little Office 
of the Blessed Virgin and in the Divine Office, which 
lasted some fifteen minutes. Then they descended 
to the chapter room to hear the Invitator read the 
Martyrology, to listen to a brief expounding of the 
Eule, and to say the **De Profundis'* for their de- 
parted brethren. After this they departed to the 
dormitory to arrange their couches — a short and 
simple task. My watch indicated five-thirty. Three 
hours and a half had been spent by these pious 
monks in religious devotions before the rest of the 
world was stirring. 

While the lay brothers descended to the refectory 
for their frugal breakfast of bread and butter and 
tea with milk and sugar, I wandered out to the east 
court of the enclosure to see the effect of the morn- 
ing sunlight falling on the red and gray slate roof 
of the white walled monastery. Smoke curled up 
from the chimney of the bake shop and from the 
kitchen of the lodge where Brother Bernard had al- 
ready prepared breakfast for the laborers. The 
grass was heavy with dew and the roses and peonies 
gleamed pink and white against the deep green of 
the hedges. No sound broke the stillness except the 
hum of the electric motor filling the stone-towered 
water tank of the abbey. 

Soon Father Bruno appeared in the east door of 
the abbey to summon me to my breakfast, which he 
said was awaiting me in the dining room, and to tell 



me that the next part of the Divine Office, Tierce, 
would be sung at seven-thirty and this would be 
followed by another mass. Thanking him I moved 
with alacrity to the dining room, for my early rising 
and subsequent experiences had whetted my appe- 
tite. The same brother who had served my evening 
meal the night before had placed on the table a 
breakfast of bread and butter, two soft boiled eggs, 
a plate of tender ham, and a pot of coffee with cream 
and sugar. Staying at a Trappist abbey as a guest, 
I thought, was a pleasure. 

Breakfast finished I returned to my room to dis- 
cover that it had been swept and dusted and the bed 
made during my absence. Shortly thereafter Father 
Bruno and Father Eugene entered, the former to 
answer some of my questions about the Order, the 
latter to offer to run me over to the Military Eoad 
in the abbey car when the time came to depart. We 
discussed the purpose of the monastic state until 
the chapel bell announced the hour for Tierce. 

Once more I visited the church to hear for the last 
time on this visit the solemn chanting of the prayers 
and hymns that make up the Divine Office. The 
singing of the one hundred and eighteenth Psalm in 
Tierce that preceded the celebration of Holy Mass 
still rang in my ears as I returned to my room to 
pack my portfolio and my traveling bag. 

Somewhat dazed by my experiences, I reflected 
that I had spent almost twenty-four hours with the 
Eeformed Cistercians who practice daily at New 




Melleray the austerities that originated at Citeaux 
in 1098 and follow the Rule proclaimed by St. Bene- 
dict from Monte Cassino about 535. Here in 
Dubuque County, Iowa, a few miles from the Mis- 
sissippi, monks in the white robe of Citeaux and in 
the brown habit of St. Benedict tread the cloisters 
in silent prayer and spend their lives in a daily 
round of labor, prayer, and fasting in a quiet spot 
hard by a bustling city and modern countryside of 
the twentieth century. 

As the morning sun mounted high in the heavens 
I took leave of my genial host, the good Father 
Bruno, and bade goodbye to Brother Bernard, he of 
the gentle mien. I climbed in the Hupmobile beside 
the white robed Father Eugene and together we 
climbed the hills and took the turns that led across 
the lands of the monastery to the Old Military Road. 
Over the smooth-topped, graded sections of this 
highway we rolled, past the old stage coach tavern 
and twelve mile house, past Fillmore Church and 
school, through the tiny village of Fillmore, up the 
long grade of a new section of the road leading to 
the narrow gauge crossing, and thence to the hill 
top east of Cascade. 

Yonder is Cascade, Father, I said. 

^^Ah, so soon,'' he responded astonished. In- 
deed, I must be turning back. ' ' 

He stopped the car and I alighted, thanking him 
for his kindness in bringing me back to my destina- 
tion and for the courtesies shown me at the abbey. 



He turned the car around and waving his hand 
started back to the monastery, eager to return to 
the daily round of prayer and work — to pray for a 
world that has almost forgotten how to pray, and to 
work not for himself but for charity. In imagina- 
tion I heard the faint tones of the distant chapel bell 
calling back the absent monk to join his voice in the 
choir chanting the verses of the Divine Office. 

Beuce E. Mahan 

The Trappists in Europe 

The Abbey of Our Lady of New Melleray, located 
some twelve miles southwest of Dubuque, Iowa, 
houses the monks of the Eeformed Cistercians com- 
monly called Trappists. The founding of this 
monastery amid the undulating hills not far from 
the Mississippi three years after Iowa became a 
State, constitutes a chapter of a story which ex- 
tends through the centuries. 

In the year 1098 a small band of monks, dissatis- 
fied with the laxity of their brethren at Molesme, 
France, set forth to find a new home where they 
could follow, unmolested, a strict observance of the 
ancient Eule of St. Benedict. Led by their saintly 
Abbot Robert, their Prior Alberic, and their Sub- 
Prior Stephen Harding, and carrying with them 
only the necessary vessels and vestments for cele- 
brating mass and a breviary, they came to the dense 
and cheerless forest of Citeaux in the Duchy of 
Burgundy. Here in a vast solitude they stopped to 
clear a space for a monastery. The Duke of Bur- 
gundy learning that some pious monks had settled 
upon his domain sent provisions and gave them 
cattle and land. 

Within a year, however. Abbot Eobert was or- 
dered by the Pope to return to Molesme where the 




monks were clamoring for his restoration. Alberic 
succeeded Mm as Abbot at Citeaux and Stephen 
Harding became Prior. Under their jurisdiction 
the white habit with a black scapular was adopted — • 
probably to contrast with the Cluniac monks — the 
meals were reduced to meager proportions, and lay 
brothers were introduced in order to permit the 
choir monks to devote more time to the Divine Office. 
These reforms, together with the practice of silence 
and strict observance of the Eule, have character- 
ized the Cistercians through the ages. 

With the death of Alberic in 1109 Stephen Hard- 
ing became Abbot, and, according to the Cistercians 
of to-day, he was the true founder of the Order. He 
promulgated the Charter of Charity'', a collection 
of statutes containing wise provisions for monastic 
government which are still followed, and applied the 
rule of poverty to the community as much as to the 
individual members. During the dark days when it 
appeared that the glory of Citeaux would fade for 
lack of postulants, it was he who had the honor of 
receiving St. Bernard into the Order with thirty of 
his followers, friends, and relatives, many of whom 
were of noble birth. 

The entrance of St. Bernard and his companions 
into the ranks of the Cistercians in 1112 was a signal 
for extraordinary development of the Order. It in- 
creased rapidly, branch monasteries were founded, 
and many congregations came under their rule. The 


white-frocked monks acquired wealth through dona- 
tions, and by their agricultural labors and economy 
— riches which they expended for the instruction of 
their followers, for charity, and for the extension of 
the Order. Travellers spoke of their hospitality. 
Their intellectual efforts produced manuscripts; 
their zeal helped spread the Romanesque and Gothic 
architecture throughout Europe ; and they cultivated 
the arts of engraving and painting. This period of 
swift and brilliant development was the golden age 
of their history. 

Then came a decline due to many causes. The dis- 
orders attendant upon the Hundred Years War led 
to a relaxation of discipline within the monasteries ; 
the widely scattered abbeys made the visits of supe- 
riors increasingly difficult; and the practice of ap- 
pointing abbots in commendam'' or abbots who 
might receive the revenues of the office without, 
perhaps, ever visiting the abbey over which they 
were supposed to rule, permitted habits of comfort 
to creep in, far from the intentions of the holy 
founders. Religious strifes, too, resulted in the 
formation of branches of the Cistercians. 

Reform, however, was not far distant. The Abbe 
de Ranee (1626-1700) after a brilliant start in the 
world gave up his honors and his fortune and re- 
tired to the lonely solitude of the Abbey of La 
Trappe in the present Department of the Orne near 
Normandy. There as Abbot he succeeded in re- 



instating an observance of the Rule of St. Benedict 
and the practices of the early Cistercians. The news 
of the piety and fervor of the monks at La Trappe 
spread throughout the monastic world. Just as the 
reforms of Citeaux had earlier restrained the grow- 
ing laxity among the followers of St. Benedict, so 
now the reforms of the Abbe de Ranee brought the 
Cistercians back to their former glory. Thus the 
term *^Trappist" has become indicative of extraor- 
dinary sanctity and austerity among the followers 
of the Order. 

Next, the French Revolution played a part in the 
ancestral history of the Trappist abbey in Iowa. 
When the wrath of the Constituent Assembly fell 
upon the monasteries of France in the confiscatory 
decree of 1790, La Trappe was no exception and the 
next year beheld the monks scattered, the monastery 
buildings thrown down, and the land left unculti- 
vated. In this state the abbey remained until it was 
repurchased and reinhabited after the overthrow of 

One group of the monks at La Trappe fled to 
Switzerland under the leadership of Dom Augustine 
de Lestrange where they secured the ancient, de- 
serted monastery of Val Sainte (Holy Valley). 
Here they followed again the austerities of La 
Trappe, and the Order prospered until the wars of 
Napoleon again made them wanderers. 

In the meantime filtrations of monks had gone out 



from the mother house of Val Sainte to other parts 
of Europe. The Abbot of Val Sainte turned his at- 
tention to Canada also, and plans were made to 
establish a monastery there. In 1794 a band of 
monks under the leadership of Father John Baptist 
proceeded to London on their way to the New World. 
Although the English laws against Catholics and 
religious orders were still in force, this band of 
Trappists was received and protected by the British 
government under the pretense that they were 
French exiles. Their friendly reception in England 
caused them to abandon the Canada project and the 
monks settled down in a monastery built for them 
near LuUworth. 

Here they remained from 1796 until 1817. Many 
Irish and English postulants joined the Order and 
the Abbot, unwilling to conform to the governmental 
warning to receive only French novices, obtained 
permission from the French King, Louis XVIII, to 
return to France. The Abbey of St. Susan of Lull- 
worth was therefore abandoned and the community, 
numbering some sixty monks, embarked on July 10, 
1817, aboard the frigate La Ravanche, which had 
been loaned them by the French King. 

A month later found the community settled in the 
deserted monastery of Melleray in the Province of 
Brittany. Its buildings had survived the storm of 
the French Revolution and, although the lands were 
held by different owners, Dom Antoine, the Abbot, 



secured a new home for his followers, partly by pur- 
chase and partly by donations. 

But peace was short lived. The revolution of 
1830 in France which deposed Charles X and placed 
the Citizen King", Louis Philippe, on the throne 
engulfed the monks of Melleray Abbey in difficulty. 
They were accused of plotting against the new mon- 
archy, of harboring Irishmen and Englishmen hos- f 
tile to the new King, and of rebelling against the 
new regime. Accordingly, the expulsion of those 
monks under governmental suspicion by the French 
authorities left only a handful of French monks at 
Melleray, while the rest, embarking on a sloop of 
war, the Hebe, at St. Nazaire set sail for Cork, Ire- 
land, where they arrived on December 1, 1831. For 
many years the abbey at Melleray languished but at 
length it revived and to-day is one of the greatest 
monasteries of the Order. 

Before the storm had burst upon Melleray, Dom 
Antoine had sent emissaries to Ireland to seek a 
location in anticipation of the expected expulsion. 
Through their efforts a site was secured in the 
County of Waterford, near the town of Cappoquin, 
where the land was cleared and a monastery erected. 
Thus was established the Abbey of Mount Melleray, 
the mother house of the abbey in Iowa. ' 

The Trappist abbey in Ireland prospered, and 
grew in numbers so rapidly that in 1835, even before 
the new abbey was completed, it was necessary to 


send a few brethren to England to found another 
monastery. For a few years the overcrowded con- 
dition was relieved but scarcely more than a decade 
had elapsed before the population of Mount Melle- 
ray had again outgrown the monastery. It was in 
this exigency that the Abbot, Dom Bruno Fitzpat- 
rick, turned his attention across the Atlantic, as a 
possible location for some of his monks. 

Bruce E. Mahan 

The Abbey in Iowa 

Toward the end of July, 1848, Father Bernard 
McCaffrey and Brother Anthony Keating set out 
from Mount Melleray to seek a new home in Amer- 
ica. They inspected a site in Pennsylvania but it 
proved to be unsatisfactory and the mission failed. 
During the following J anuary two more emissaries 
were sent to find a desirable location for a monas- 
tery in the United States. They were as unsuccess- 
ful as their predecessors. 

When it seemed that further efforts to establish a 
branch of the Mount Melleray community in the New 
World would be futile an unforeseen incident turned 
the whole trend of events. Early in 1849 it hap- 
pened that Bishop Loras of Dubuque, who was trav- 
elling in Europe, paid a visit to the Abbey of Mount 
Melleray and, learning of the unsuccessful attempt 
to found a Trappist monastery in America, offered 
the Abbot a tract of land in Dubuque County. Dom 
Bruno decided to accept the offer if the situation 
appeared suitable and wrote at once to Father 
Clement Smythe and Brother Ambrose Byrne, his 
representatives in America, to view the land. Fa- 
ther Clement sent Brother Ambrose to examine the 
tract, who, after a careful inspection, decided that 
the place met the requirements. Remote from the 
noise and distractions of the world yet it was suffi- 




ciently near a city for all necessary intercourse; it 
was located in an attractive setting of hills and 
timbered valleys and had an abundant supply of 

The generous offer of Bishop Loras was therefore 
accepted and Abbot Bruno set out for America 
accompanied by Father James 'Gorman and 
Brothers Timothy, Joseph, Barnaby, and Macarius. 
They arrived by way of Dubuque, and on the six- 
teenth of July, 1849, Abbot Bruno of Mount Melle- 
ray, Ireland, laid the foundation of New Melleray, 
Iowa. Father James 'Gorman was appointed 
Superior and Abbot Bruno returned to Ireland, 
leaving the small band of pioneer monks housed in 
a small frame building. 

Work began immediately upon the construction 
of a monastery to accommodate the expected emi- 
grants from the mother house. On the tenth of 
September, 1849, sixteen more members of Mount 
Melleray left for the new home in America. They 
sailed from Liverpool and disembarked at New 
Orleans. Thence they proceeded up the Mississippi 
by steamboat to Dubuque. Six of the group died of 
cholera on the river trip and were buried at different 
spots along the bank. 

While part of the community engaged in breaking 
the prairie for the next year's crop, the others de- 
voted the time not occupied by their religious duties 
in building the frame abbey which still stands in a 
good state of preservation. Work on this building 



was pursued diligently during the fall and it was 
consecrated and occupied on Christmas day of 1849. 
Neither the sad fate of the brothers who had died on 
the trip nor the hardships of the journey prevented 
a third detachment of twenty-three from coming to 
New Melleray in the following spring. Thus in the 
course of a year the new monastery had relieved 
the congestion in the mother house and had begun a 
vigorous existence with nearly forty members in the 
new State of Iowa. 

During the next ten years careful attention was 
given to improving the estate, which was enlarged 
by the purchase of an additional tract of five hun- 
dred acres. The prairies were broken and prepared 
for the seed that yielded bountiful harvests. The 
land was fenced and stock was purchased. Agri- 
cultural development was slow, however, for there 
was no revenue except from the sale of surplus 
products. Paying for the land, buying farm imple- 
ments and stock, and building farm improvements 
exhausted the yearly income. 

After the first decade, however, the community 
began to prosper. The land was fenced and under 
cultivation, over a hundred head of stock of the bet- 
ter breeds grazed in the extensive pastures, and the 
treasury showed a surplus. The brothers began to 
plan improvements. The year 1861 saw the erection 
of the mammoth barn — a two-story frame building 
fifty feet wide and three hundred feet long built on 
a limestone foundation. It was capable of holding 



three hundred head of stock and a thousand tons of 
hay. Twice since it was built disastrous fires have 
destroyed the superstructure. Only last spring the 
great barn was burned to the ground leaving the 
strong foundation still unharmed upon which the 
structure will be rebuilt. 

The sale of cattle during the Civil War was so 
profitable that the monks decided to use the money 
in fulfilling the long cherished wish to build a monas- 
tery which would be a worthy reflection of the zeal 
and piety of the Order. The plans provided for the 
erection of four large stone buildings in Gothic style 
around a rectangular court one hundred feet wide 
and two hundred feet long. Each wing was to be 
approximately thirty feet wide and thirty feet high 
with a gable roof of red and gray slate, cupolas or 
belfrys, ornamental buttresses, vaulted ceilings, and 
pointed arches for windows and doors. Ground was 
broken on March 8, 1868, and the building was occu- 
pied in 1875. Only two of the four wings have been 
finished, and the rough ends of limestone blocks still 
await the hoped-for day when a sufficient increase in 
new members will make it necessary to complete the 

The north wing contains the dormitory, sacristy, 
and three small chapels above; the guest rooms, 
tailor shop, library, wardrobe, and storeroom below. 
The east wing houses the church above, while on the 
first floor are the chapel — dedicated to the Sacred 
Heart and the Blessed Virgin — and the chapter 



room. An extension to the nortli contains the study 
rooms for the choir brethren, the water-tower, and 
the bath rooms. The refectory, scullery, and kitchen 
are located in the basement, while the cloisters ex- 
tend around the inside wall of the two wings. 

The improvements outside the enclosure include a 
saw mill, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, ce- 
ment feeding-pens, a corn crib, cow barns, and wind 
mills. The farm buildings are well constructed, 
painted, and equipped with modern appliances. In 
agriculture and stock raising the brothers are still 
leaders in the neighborhood. 

A red brick parish church, situated about three 
hundred yards from the monastery on the road lead- 
ing to the main highway, affords a place of worship 
for the neighboring farmers most of whom are of 
the Catholic faith. One of the monks, Father Placid, 
serves as the parish priest. 

Amid these surroundings the Cistercian monks 
or Trappists perform their daily round of labor, 
prayer, and meditation. For seventy years the 
ancient austerities of Citeaux and La Trappe, modi- 
fied somewhat by the Holy See and the Constitution 
of 1902, have been practiced in Iowa. 

When Abbot Alberic of New Melleray died in 1917 
after a rule of twenty years Father Bruno Ryan 
was appointed Superior. The Abbot wears no in- 
signia of his rank except a plain ring on his finger 
and a simple cross of wood suspended from a violet, 
silken cord about his neck. He has no better food, 



wears no richer dress, nor has he any softer bed 
than other members of the Order. He presides in 
the chapter room, assigns employments, and im- 
poses penances. He sets an example of piety ; while 
on his business judgment and that of his Procurator 
rests largely the temporal prosperity of the abbey. 
He is assisted in his many duties by a Prior and a 

Bkuce E. Mahan 

The Life of the Trappists 

At New Melleray to-day are found the two classes 
of monks that have characterized Cistercian abbeys 
since the earliest days of the Order. The choir 
brothers are men who have been well educated and 
have a careful knowledge of the Latin tongue. They 
are the priests of the community and those studying 
for Holy Orders. Their dress in choir consists of a 
long white woolen tunic with flowing sleeves, with a 
capoch or hood attached. When at work they wear 
a white woolen habit, a black scapular with a hood, 
and a leather girdle. 

The lay brothers on the other hand — among 
whom are many representatives of distinguished 
families who prefer the humbler rank — are usually 
men of less educational preparation than the choir 
brothers. They do the farm work, the cooking, the 
baking, the tailoring, the laundry work, and the 
more menial tasks about the monastery, thereby 
giving the choir brothers more time to devote to the 
Divine Office. At religious devotions the lay broth- 
ers wear a long brown robe with a hood, and at work 
their dress is a dark brown habit and a leather gir- 
dle. Their hair is close cropped and they wear 

The novices or postulants are admitted to the 
monastery for a probationary period to try their 




strength and desire to continue the life. If, after a 
trial of two years, they wish to persevere, they are 
admitted by a vote of the community and the first 
vows are taken. From three to six years later the 
final vows are made which seclude them from the 
world. During the novitiate period the choir broth- 
ers wear a white robe with a scapular and hood of 
white, and a girdle of wool instead of leather. Since 
the use of linen is forbidden to the monks all wear 
next to the body a light-weight undergarment of 

The idea that fasts and abstinences at New Melle- 
ray or at other Cistercian abbeys are perpetual 
hardships is largely erroneous. True, all in good 
health must abstain from flesh meat and fish at all 
times, but those who are weak or ill may have meat 
in the infirmary to repair their strength. Young 
men under twenty-one in the Order are not obliged 
to fast. The Trappists now partake of a light break- 
fast, a full meal at mid-day, and only meager re- 
freshments in the evening. The food consists of veg- 
etables, cereals, fresh bread and butter, milk, and 
cheese. Eggs are used in cooking and as a supple- 
mentary dish for those who have a special need. 
Fruit, too, forms an important part of the diet, and 
tea, coffee, and cocoa are used. 

To an outsider the practice of perpetual silence 
seems harsh and austere, a means of penance and 
mortification of extreme difficulty. In practice, 
however, observance of the rule becomes relatively 



easy, for a number of conventional signs are nsed to 
fulfill the common needs of communication. There 
are also certain exceptions. Any monk may always 
speak with his Superior. Others such as the Guest 
Brother, the Procurator, the farm boss, or those 
whose positions throw them in contact with out- 
siders have permission to speak. If necessary other 
members of the Order may obtain permission to 
talk. Nevertheless the monks feel that the practice 
is not a hardship but a blessing, believing with St. 
Ephrem that, **When there is silence in the mind, 
when the heart rests, when the hush of the world has 
breathed over the spirit, when the mind self-left, 
feels its loneliness, then comes the sweet and sacred 
communication with heaven." 

Manual labor at New Melleray, both by the choir 
monks and the lay brethren, is one of the occupations 
of the community, but the amount is not excessive. 
Three to four hours daily by the choir brothers and 
twice as much by their brown-clad companions, 
equally divided between morning and afternoon, is 
the usual time spent at the various tasks of the 
Order. The distinction in the time allotted for labor 
is due to the fact that the lay brothers do not recite 
the Divine Office, although they share in the spirit- 
ual benefits derived therefrom and repeat privately 
a short Office of their own. 

For several years the Abbey of Our Lady of New 
Melleray gave promise of becoming a flourishing 
community of the Cistercian Order, but of late years 



the postulants and novices have been so few that the 
progress which characterizes the houses of the 
Order abroad has not been maintained. From fifty- 
four members in 1892 the number of monks has 
dwindled to twenty-four in 1922. When the visitor 
sees the extensive and well improved lands of the 
estate, the vacant cells in the large dormitory, and 
the empty stalls in the choir he wonders if this 
settlement of the Trappists in the Mississippi Valley 
will repeat the story of Citeaux. Will New Melleray 
Abbey, which now seems to languish, wax vigorous 
in the future, spreading its influence afar and con- 
tributing to a revival of monasticism ? 

Certainly the five young monks from Ireland who 
have added their strength to the community within 
the past year and an awakened interest on the part 
of some young Americans in the Order furnish a 
hopeful portent to the able Superior, Father Bruno, 
and to the aged monks who have held to the ideals 
of the Cistercians so persistently during the past 
quarter of a century. 

Bruce E. Mahan 

Comment by the Editor 


Few people of their own accord arise with the 
sun, and fewer still retire at dusk. **To bed with 
the chickens*' is a phrase of contempt; while the 
crowing cock is a discredited morning alarm. The 
hands of **Big Ben'' instead of the sunbeam on the 
counterpane indicate the time for rising. It seems 
to be one of the perversities of human beings to pro- 
long the night into the day and extend the day be- 
yond nightfall. Only the inexorable necessities of 
life are sufficiently powerful to compel a person to 
face the toil of a new day. The dreadful experience 
is postponed until the last minute. Even an act of 
Congress proved unavailing, so the daylight saving 
law was repealed. 

For nearly three quarters of a century the Trap- 
pist monks at New Melleray have been setting a 
steadfast example of daylight saving. No doubt 
they prefer God's light to human substitutes, but 
they outdo the sun in early rising. They reverse the 
usual custom and bum their candles in the morning. 

On Sundays the Trappists arise at one instead of 
two — another reversal of common practice. There 
is an element of logic in this, however, when viewed 
philosophically. If one rises early on Sunday he 
may sleep late the rest of the week. 





The asceticism of the silent monks at New Melle- 
ray does not appeal to American youth. Eeligious 
zeal is not a prominent trait of the times. Monastic 
life in Iowa seems to be an anachronism. Seclusion 
is a characteristic of by-gone ages : now, one half of 
the world is determined to know how the other half 
lives. Conmiunication between the ends of the earth 
is almost instantaneous, motoring across a continent 
is an epidemic, distance is well nigh abolished in 
fact as in theory, and the whole world is becoming 
cosmopolitan. When life is so full of adventure and 
knowledge is not all found in books, who wants to 
shut himself up in an abbey! 

Yet monasticism has its advantages. Pledged to 
perpetual silence, to unremitting toil, to absolute 
poverty, to lifelong seclusion, and to intense reli- 
gious devotion, the Trappist brothers probably 
experience a peace of mind impossible in the hurly- 
burly of the outer world. The attainment of spir- 
itual aspirations, they are convinced, rewards the 
soul far more than the gratification of the natural 
instincts of an ephemeral life. While the nation is 
in the throes of war, while the politicians are puz- 
zled with political problems, while laborers strike, 
while social customs come and go, there at New 
Melleray the disciples of St. Benedict remain, year 
after year — calm, devout, abiding. They are free 
from the turmoil of a nervous world. 




There are manifold methods of expressing spir- 
itual fervor. Even among the monks there are sev- 
eral orders, each with its own set of vows and each | 
with a different mode of living. Some, like the i 
Trappists, are content with being good; while oth- 
ers, like the Jesuits, seek salvation in doing good. 
The former are chiefly concerned with themselves; 
the latter are pledged to carry the gospel to others. 

As the annals of New Melleray Abbey are a part 
of the history of this State, so also the work of the 
Jesuits has a prominent place in the chronicles of 
Iowa. First came Father Marquette to explore the 
Mississippi and to preach to the Indians. He is the 

Black-Robe chief, the Prophef in the *^Song of 
Hiawatha ' \ That was in the reign of Louis XIV — 
in the glorious days of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. 
Many were the black robed priests who followed 
their brother into the Great Valley, suffering the 
hardships of long and hazardous voyages with only 
their consciences to guide them and the sigTi of the 
cross for protection. Around their names are woven 
the adventures and achievements of the first white 
men in Iowa. The story of their exploits in New 
France is as picturesque as the D'Artagnan ro- 
mances across the sea. 

J. E. B. 

rN OCTOBER 1922 


The Sioux City Corn Palaces 313 

John Ely ISriggs 

The Blue Grass Palace \' 327 

^ Bruce E. Mahan 

The Otfumwa Coal Palace 336 

Carl B. Kreiner 

Comment 343 

The Editor 

Published Monthly At Iowa to' By 




The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the' dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Vol. Ill Issued in October 1922 No. lO 


The Sioux City Corn Palaces 

While nearly the entire country suffered from 
drouth in the summer of 1887 propitious showers 
saved the crops in the middle portion of the Missouri 
Valley. The corn fields of northwest Iowa yielded 
amazingly, and the concomitant hogs grew fat. In 
the midst of this fortunate region lay Sioux City, 
the prodigy of the West. From a bustling town of 
about seven thousand inhabitants in 1880 it had 
grown into a thriving city of approximately thirty 
thousand population — the third most important 
meat packing center in America. Within the year 
property values had increased enormously, exten- 
sive improvements were under construction, and 
thousands of people had come there to live. The 
future seemed assured. 

Grateful for this extraordinary prosperity and in 
recognition of the decisive importance of the agri- 
cultural interests of the surrounding territory, sev- 




eral of the prominent business men of Sioux City 
met on the evening of August 20th to devise a means 
of public expression of thanksgiving for the bounte- 
ous crops of the Northwest and the remarkable 
growth of the city. Various plans were considered. 
One man suggested a jubilee with heaps of corn 
along the streets as continual reminders of the cause 
of the festival. Another proposed to decorate the 
courthouse with cornstalks and make it a center 
for public speaking, music, and entertainment. Then 
came a brilliant idea. Why not build a palace of 
corn! Let the design be unique and appropriate, 
let the edifice be adorned with all the products of the 
field — though chiefly with corn — and within let 
there be music and dancing and artistic exhibits of 

It was an inspiration of the moment. The burst 
of enthusiasm that greeted the idea of a com palace 
festival grew apace. The whole city caught the 
spirit of the occasion and the people of the surround- 
ing territory became intensely interested. A town 
meeting was held the following week, an organiza- 
tion was formed with Mayor J. M. Clelland as presi- 
dent, committees were appointed, and work on the 
project began. 

Meanwhile everyone was experimenting with 
grain as a medium of artistic expression. Corn 
seemed to be particularly well adapted to such a 
use. Indeed, for the time being, corn was apparently 
the most important article in the life of the com- 



nrnnity. The slogan, ^^Oorn is King'', appeared to 
be a veritable reality. Never was a monarch held in 
more reverential esteem by his subjects. Odes to 
corn flowed from the pens of numerous rhymesters : 
Longfellow's tribute to Mondamin, the god of corn, 
was quoted until everyone must have known it by 
heart: the newspapers were filled with articles ex- 
plaining the origin of harvest festivals and discuss- 
ing the function of Ceres, the goddess of grain. 
Corn parties were quite the vogue in social circles : 
the ladies came adorned with strings of corn beads 
while the gentlemen wore corn husk cravats. One 
facetious reporter declared that cornstarch had be- 
come a favorite food for the babies. 

As the concept of a corn palace developed, the 
original plans were outgrown. At first it was esti- 
mated that five thousand dollars would be needed for 
the festival but later the sponsors of the exposition 
decided to raise as much as twenty-five thousand 
dollars if necessary. By the end of September the 
whole project had assumed so much importance and 
promised to be so successful that the Sioux City 
Corn Palace Exposition Company was organized 
and incorporated with a capital stock of two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars. The corn palace 
itself, as originally designed by E. W. Loft, was to 
occupy a space one hundred feet square on the north- 
west corner of Jackson and Fifth streets, but two 
weeks before the opening it was decided to double 
the size of the building by extending it westward to 



include the armory and adding two more pavilions. 

The first corn palace exposition opened on Mon- 
day evening, October 3, 1887. The whole city was in 
gala array for the jubilee. Illuminated arches 
spanned the intersections of the streets in the busi- 
ness district. Stores and houses were appropriately 
decorated. There was corn, corn everywhere, and 
in the midst of this festive display stood the corn 
palace — the pride of Sioux City and the marvel of 
all who beheld it. 

Fantastically Moorish in general appearance, the 
first corn palace nevertheless possessed an individ- 
uality of architectural design peculiarly adapted to 
the purpose for which it was intended. At each 
front corner was a square tower representing Da- 
kota, Nebraska, and Minnesota. Great arched en- 
trances opened upon both Jackson and Fifth streets 
through smaller towers. Above each doorway was a 
panel in which agricultural scenes were portrayed 
in bas-relief, wrought with colored com and other 
grains, while upon a platform at the top of each 
entrance tower was depicted an allegorical scene in 

The towers were connected by the battlemented 
walls of the edifice, above which rose graceful pin- 
nacles, and beyond in the background was the corn- 
thatched roof — a solid mass of green. From the 
center of the roof towered the cupola, its arches and 
panels fashioned like those below and its spire 
rising to the height of a hundred feet. The long fly- 



ing buttresses which swept gracefully down from the 
four turrets of the cupola to the corner towers con- 
stituted the most conspicuous feature of the palace 
and, together with numerous openings and arches, 
they contributed an appearance of airiness and 
whimsicality quite in keeping with the ornate exte- 
rior. To the west the armory was decorated in the 
same manner as the corn palace proper, while beyond 
were two pavilions in towers corresponding to those 
of the principal building. 

The entire outer surface was covered with corn 
and other grains. The fantastic lines of the super- 
structure were modified by a maze of detail and col- 
or. From spire to foundation every portion was 
covered with some decoration to please the eye and 
catch the imagination. Along the upper line of the 
front ran a shiny border of oats interspersed with 
the dark seed of the sorghum plant and flaming red 
com. The numerous pinnacles were garbed in the 
rich colors of native grasses and crowned with tufts 
of millet and streaming banners. Born of the inspi- 
ration of a new idea, unique in design, and novel in 
material, the first corn palace in every line and de- 
tail seemed vocal with the significance of the great 

The space inside the palace beneath the cupola 
constituted a large auditorium the walls of which 
formed **one grand panorama of delightful imag- 
ery'', rich with the beauty of nature's own painting. 
The bright colors of grain and grass and straw were 



massed and blended in surprising brilliance and bar- 
mony. Yonder was a map of the United States made 
of seeds, each State of a different color; there a 
huge carrot spider was poised in a web of corn 
fibers ; and most marvelous of all was the tableau of 
the golden stairs — a beautiful wax figure of Ceres, 
clad in a robe of satin husks and bearing a cornstalk 
scepter, stood upon a stairway of yellow corn. 

After a week of street parades, fireworks, Indian 
war-dancing, speeches by notable people, band con- 
certs, and competitive military drill the first corn 
palace was formally closed on Saturday, October the 
eighth. On the following Monday evening, however, 
as the climax of the jubilee, a big corn dance was 
held in the armory. The next day came a party of 
eastern capitalists, including Cornelius Vanderbilt 
and Chauncey Depew, to view the * ^ eighth wonder of 
the world ' ^ Mr. Depew, who was prevailed upon to 
make a speech, declared that he had seen nearly all 
of the natural and unnatural wonders of the world, 
but never a corn palace before. *^Any city so enter- 
prising and so prolific in beautiful designs, and en- 
thusiastic in all public enterprises must of necessity 
be the metropolis of the northwest'', he said. 

Early the next morning President Cleveland, who 
was on a tour of the country, arrived from St. Paul 
in his special train. At six o'clock the streets were 
crowded with people eager to catch a glimpse of the 
chief executive and his beautiful wife as they jjassed 
along to see the corn palace. Except for this spon- 


taneous tribute there was no special demonstration 
and no formal reception. Within the corn palace the 
band played just as it had during the festival, while 
the presidential party inspected the displays of 
agricultural products and admired the unique deco- 
rations. Marveling at the prodigal resources of the 
Northwest, President Cleveland returned to his pri- 
vate car with a large ear of corn sticking out of his 
pocket and a new vision of its significance lingering 
in his mind. The corn palace, he remarked, was the 
first new thing he had seen on his trip. 

Early in the summer of 1888 plans were begun 
for the second corn palace festival. During the 
weeks of preparation the local newspapers followed 
developments with exalted enthusiasm, the railroads 
were induced to announce half-fare rates to Sioux 
City, souvenirs were on sale by the first of Septem- 
ber, arrangements were made for an elaborate pro- 
gram of entertainment, and long before the opening 
day on September 24th free passes were sent to 
Congressmen and other prominent people. 

While the architecture of the second corn palace 
was of a composite order, it was less fantastic than 
the first had been. The building was square, cov- 
ering a quarter of a block on the northeast comer of 
Pierce and Sixth streets. At the comers and mid- 
way along the sides facing the streets were towers 
projecting from the line of the wall and rising to a 
height of fifty feet. 

Like the first corn palace the es^terior of the sec- 



ond was entirely covered with corn and other grains. 
It was estimated that thirty thousand bushels of 
corn were used — all that a section of land in north- 
west Iowa would normally produce. Ears of every 
color, sawed lengthwise into halves and transversely 
into sections, were nailed to the walls in intricate 
patterns and geometrical figures. Along the top of 
the wall ran a border of wheat sheaves, the upper 
portions of the towers were elaborately embellished, 
and the battlements were tufted with millet and 
sorghum seed. From the northwest to the southeast 
corners the color scheme of decoration was gradu- 
ated to suggest the succession of seasons — the 
somber, neutral shades of winter gradually increas- 
ing in brightness, variety, and richness of combina- 
tion until the full splendor of the autumnal tints 

The whole interior of the palace was a wilderness 
of color. The booths around the walls in which 
produce was displayed were the units of decoration. 
One represented a Grecian temple and another a 
barnyard scene. A grotto presenting an illusion of 
ice and snow was **marvelously effective 

Viewed from the promenade that encircled the 
vast amphitheater the maze of ornamental detail 
seemed unified by a band of golden-rod and millet 
separating the lower booths from the gallery. The 
supporting pillars, transformed with white corn into 
graceful columns of marble, carried the eye upward 
from the vividness and life below to a belt of invert- 


ed wheat sheaves at the base of the dome-like roof. 
From there the glance was swept across the surface 
of the dome by the majestic grain-covered arches to 
the point where they met at the center. Unity and 
diversity, harmony and contrast concentrated their 
potencies in the vision. The mellow radiance of illu- 
mination added a glamour that accentuated the 
atmosphere of sentiment and romance which per- 
vaded the place. * * It suggests to me scenes of what 
fancy paints fairy land to be'', declared Governor 

The third corn palace was opened on Monday 
evening, September 23rd, with an address by J. M. 
Thurston, the **most gifted of western orators''. 
During the first week a bicycle tournament was held 
and later several conventions met in Sioux City. 
Hundreds of Indians from the reservations attended 
the festival in their primitive garb, and entered 
wholeheartedly into the spirit of the jubilee. They 
were very conspicuous in the old settlers' parade, 
imparting the color of by-gone days to that pageant 
of progress. Not content with such a showing, how- 
ever, they paraded daily by themselves. Another 
special attraction was a talking machine. Phono- 
graph records were made and reproduced at the corn 
palace — to the anguish of the musicians. 

Probably none of the corn palace festivals attract- 
ed more excursion parties than the one in 1889, 
During the first week a large delegation represent- 
ing the Blue Grass League came in a special train 



festooned with blue grass. From Omaha came an- 
other large excursion, and a ^ Very quiet party'' of 
deaf mutes from the School for the Deaf spent a day 
in Sioux City. But the most portentous event of 
the festival was the visit of a hundred New England 
capitalists who came on a special train all of the way 
from Boston. It is alleged that all expenses were 
paid by A. S. Garretson and that the capitalists were 
continually reminded that Sioux City was abun- 
dantly blessed with brains and possibilities but much 
in need of money. 

The most distinctive feature of the third corn pal- 
ace was a grand tower over one hundred and eighty 
feet high. It was built in four courses, each smaller 
than the one below, thus affording space for bal- 
conies from which the whole city could be seen. 
Flanking the main tower and connected with it by 
bridges were two smaller towers. The west end of 
the palace extended across Pierce Street in a great 
archway through which the traffic passed. 

The corn palace of 1890 was described as a '^Mo- 
hammedan mosque with Iowa trimming". The 
dome, built in the form of a huge globe, was deco- 
rated with corn to represent the world, with Iowa 
and Sioux City conspicuously indicated in front. On 
top of the world was a great table supporting an 
upper dome — a sort of Moslem turret two stories 
high. Three towers similarly crowned graced each 
of the two front sides. 

As the visitor passed through the main entrance 


at the corner of Pierce and Sixth streets the most 
striking feature of the interior met his gaze. Above 
the annex on the other side of the auditorium was a 
miniature valley of a great river — perhaps the Mis- 
souri. From far-distant mountains clothed in pine 
trees came a stream of water, leaping over rocks, 
hemmed in between high hills, winding across a 
prairie, and finally falling over a ledge into a lake 
below where the palmettos were growing. 

Three times during the festival, which lasted from 
September 25th to October 11th, King Corn came 
forth in the costume of a knight of old, followed by 
a retinue of glittering attendants. The allegorical 
history of com, the monarch of peace, was depicted 
by beautiful floats on which patriotic citizens, ar- 
rayed in the trappings of the sixth century, formed 
numerous tableaux. King Corn upon his throne and 
surrounded by ladies and pages dispensed princely 
favors as he passed along. Before the throne was a 
bronze urn filled with fruit and guarded by two 
gilded lions, on either side of the throne stood an 
antlered deer, while at the rear was a column upon 
which a cherub perched with a cornucopia filled with 
fruit and flowers. 

The festival of 1890 was to have closed in splen- 
dor. The Governors and Congressmen from Iowa 
and neighboring States were invited to visit the 
corn palace. In the forenoon there was to have been 
a grand parade and in the afternoon an informal 
reception of the prominent guests. But nobody 



came except Governor A. C. Mellette and Congress- 
man I. S. Struble. It rained all day and the roof of 
the corn palace leaked. Late at night while the rain 
poured down in torrents and the lightning flashed on 
every side the electric lights were turned out and the 
doors of the fourth corn palace were closed. 

The ardor of Sioux City seems not to have been 
dampened by the dismal end of the fourth corn pal- 
ace festival. The following year another magnifi- 
cent palace was built, the noblest of them all. More 
than a block long and dominated by a majestic dome 
over two hundred feet high — said to be the largest 
ever constructed of wood alone — the fifth com pal- 
ace was so well proportioned, so graceful in every 
line that the enormous bulk of the building was un- 
perceived. Except for the two entrance towers the 
palace resembled the national capitol in general con- 
tour. There was the broad expanse of horizontal 
lines expressive of a vast domain: there was the 
splendid dome significant of lofty aspiration. 

Fronting on Sixth Street, the palace was inter- 
sected in the center by an immense archway over 
Pierce Street. Above the arch was a spacious bal- 
cony bounded at each end by stately turrets which 
were flanked by minarets overlaid with wild sage and 
white corn, giving the appearance of a chased silver 
column divided into diamond sections by bars of 
ivory. The arch facade was covered with red corn 
in a manner to represent carved rock. Above and . 
beyond the balcony was the open work of the lower 


reaches of the great central dome, draped in oats 
and converging below the broad blue frieze at the 
base of the upright portion of the dome. Upon this 
belt of blue a triumphal procession of domestic ani- 
mals was portrayed with dark seeds and grasses. 
Above the frieze were minarets. Decorated with 
indigo corn at the base they passed through the 
shades of purple, red, orange, and yellow to dazzling 
white at the top. Between these minarets were the 
outlooks of the observation gallery adorned with 
lace-like fabric made of ropes of straw. The blue 
and gold capital of the dome supported a huge yel- 
low cornucopia pouring forth the treasure of the 

* * To be thoroughly appreciated, ' ' wrote a witness, 
'Hhe Palace should be seen at sunset, when the solid 
mass of the building is cast in shade. Then each 
tower and turret and minaret shines in the warm 
light as if wrought of gold, like some magnificent 
dream of ' Spanish castles ' discerned above the mist 
which fancy dares not penetrate. ' ' 

The auditorium occupied the east wing of the pal- 
ace while the west wing was devoted entirely to agri- 
cultural exhibits. In artistic detail and harmony of 
coloring the fifth com palace surpassed all previous 
efforts. About the walls of the auditorium and in 
the balcony over the archway were numerous paint- 
ings and statues artfully constructed of grain. The 
designs were exceedingly intricate and the booths 
were the most elaborate that had ever been built in 



the corn palace. A miniature library won the first 
prize. The walls of the library booth were adorned 
with pictures — a portrait of Dante, a winter scene, 
and a country maid with an apron of flowers. The 
floor was covered with a grass rug. Upon a table 
were quill pens of cane and oat straw, a corn lamp, a 
gourd inkwell, and several corn husk blotters. 

Considerable space on the main floor of the west 
wing, which was decorated in Spanish moss and 
brake grass, was occupied by extensive southern ex- 
hibits. The exposition of produce from the North- 
west was very complete. Several railroad companies 
vied with each other in displaying the resources of 
the country and presenting novel attractions. 

The fifth and last corn palace was opened at noon 
of October 1, 1891, and remained on exhibition more 
than three weeks. Late in the evening of Sunday, 
October 25th, the final notes of ^^FarewelP' had died 
away, the last stragglers had been ushered out, and 
only the long rows of chairs in the auditorium and 
the litter that strewed the floor told of the crowd that 
had assembled. The final footfall echoed drearily 
through the vast building as if the echo itself were 
oppressed at the thought that such a beautiful crea- 
tion had been called into existence to be the center of 
a few days of festivity, only to be cast aside before 
the moon had waned. Then the doors of the Sioux 
City corn palace were closed forever. 

John Ely Briggs 

The Blue Grass Palace 

The morning of August 21, 1890, dawned cool and 
cloudy, threatening rain. Hundreds of men and 
women of Creston, who had toiled for weeks to build 
and decorate the second blue grass palace, watched 
the sky anxiously. At about eight o 'clock, however, 
the clouds cleared away, the sun shone forth brightly, 
and the promoters of the Blue Grass Palace Expo- 
sition and District Agricultural Fair rejoiced. The 
dedication that afternoon by Grovernor Horace Boies 
was not to be marred by the weather man. 

The Blue Grass League of Southwestern Iowa, 
organized in the law office of J. B. Harsh at Creston 
on May 11, 1889, had sponsored the first attempt, 
during the summer of 'eighty-nine, to build a blue 
grass palace which would advertise southwestern 
Iowa as the corn palaces had heralded the advan- 
tages of Sioux City. The enterprise had met with 
flattering success and, encouraged by the results, 
the league had planned the wonder palace for 1890, 
where the eighteen counties of the league would ex- 
hibit the products of the soil and join in a carnival 
holiday after the harvest was ended and summer 
was merging into autumn. 

The second blue grass palace, a building three 
times the size of the first palace, was erected on the 
Creston fair grounds. Facing the race track on the 




east the structure extended north and south almost 
the length of a city block and was fully half as wide. 
Its conical shaped central tower reached a height of 
one hundred and twenty feet, while on both the 
north and south wings were cupolas ninety feet high. 
A square, five-story tower forming the central part 
of the main entrance supported a flagstaff from 
which a banner bearing the legend, *^Creston Blue 
Grass Palace'^, floated in the breeze a hundred feet 
above the ground. From the flagstaffs on the two 
cupolas, the towering central dome, the four smaller 
towers, and the two turrets, the Stars and Stripes 
were unfurled. Multicolored pennons were placed 
at regular intervals along the upper promenade 
which encircled both the north and south wings. A 
broad suspension bridge stretched from the central 
dome to the cupolas, affording an unobstructed view 
of Union County farms that swept away to the hori- 
zon. The entire surface of the palace was covered 
with heavy layers of long stemmed blue grass, tim- 
othy, clover, and straw arranged in designs and 
effects highly artistic. 

At an early hour on the morning of the opening 
day the fair ground presented a lively scene. The 
owners of shows, refreshment booths, lemonade 
stands, and shooting galleries were setting up for 
business, fakirs were erecting their tents, and wagon 
loads of exhibits awaited their turn for unloading. 
Inside the palace workmen were hastening to com- 
plete the huge auditorium for the reception of the 


Governor. The stage was carpeted and profusely 
decorated with flowers and plants. South of the 
stage stretched a large painting by a local artist 
which featured a picture of the palace with little 
angels filling the sky, each equipped with a banner 
bearing the name of one of the counties of the league. 
The angel with the Union County banner perched on 
the center spire of the palace. 

The crowd began to arrive shortly after noon and 
by two-thirty the huge auditorium was packed by an 
audience of three or four thousand people. Hun- 
dreds, unable to squeeze their way into the audi- 
torium, had to be content with wandering along the 
promenades, visiting the suspension bridge, or in- 
specting the exhibits. Meanwhile the famous Iowa 
State Band which had accompanied the Governor 
from Des Moines entertained the waiting crowd with 
classical and popular music. 

A few minutes after three o 'clock the watchers on 
the suspension bridge saw the procession approach- 
ing from town. In the van rode the Governor and 
his staff followed by the mayor of Creston and the 
city council. Next came the Creston fire department 
in uniform while local citizens and visitors in hacks, 
carriages, and buggies brought up the rear. As the 
official party entered the auditorium the band blared 
forth with the stirring march, **Hail to the Chief", 
and the crowd greeted the first citizen of the State 
with loud applause and noisy cheering. In his ad- 
dress Governor Boies lauded the members and pro- 



moters of the Blue Grass League and expressed his 
surprise and delight at the beautiful structure which 
he had the honor to dedicate. He concluded his 
address with remarks on the political situation, 
urging that every citizen should know the principles 
upon which his government is founded and should 
study carefully the issues of the day. A hand- 
shaking reception followed the program of the after- 
noon, and the first day of the exposition ended with 
the large crowd very hot but exceedingly happy. 

The second day of the exposition, which had been 
set apart in honor of Taylor and Adair counties, was 
perhaps of equal interest. Honorable Eoger Q. 
Mills, of Texas, author of the Mills Tariff Bill, had 
been selected as the orator of the day, and he had 
arrived in time to attend the dedicatory exercises on 
the previous afternoon. Early in the morning of 
August 22nd the roads leading into Creston were 
black with buggies, carriages, and wagons bringing 
the country folk from far and near. At nine o'clock 
two special trains arrived on the north branch, car- 
rying the Fontanelle band and a large crowd from 
Adair County. Half an hour later two special trains 
from the south brought the Taylor County delega- 
tion accompanied by the New Market band of nine 
pieces, the Conway band of twelve, the Lenox band 
of ten, and the Fifth Regimental Band of Bedford 
— one of the prize musical organizations of the 
State. At ten o'clock the blue grass palace special 
from Omaha, elaborately decorated with flags, bunt- 


ing, and banners, rolled into the station yard, loaded 
with visitors and a big band from the Nebraska 
metropolis. The different delegations formed in 
line headed by the Nebraska group, and with bands 
playing martial music, flags flying, and banners 
waving they marched north to the palace grounds. 

The crowd surged back and forth through the pal- 
ace admiring the artistic decorations and the dis- 
plays of agricultural products. Interest centered, 
however, about the apartments occupied by the two 
counties to which the second day of the exposition 
had been dedicated. The ceiling and the three walls 
of the Adair County booth were completely covered 
with corn, oats, grasses, and wheat arranged in 
novel patterns. A large, square centerpiece covered 
with all the varieties of grasses grown in the county 
served as a base on which a horse and sleigh made 
of the products of the soil caught the attention of 
the visitors. A straw man with a mustache of red 
corn silk sat in the sleigh driving a corn horse with 
plaited blue grass reins and harness. At one side 
of the booth a miniature replica of a Fontanelle ele- 
vator covered with red shelled corn held a supply of 
grain and grass seed which poured through little 
spouts into tiny box cars on the railroad track. A 
Newfoundland dog and a horse, both life size and 
constructed of blue grass, and a sheep made of oat 
and wheat heads occupied prominent places in the 
display. Samples of brick from a Fontanelle kiln, 
firkins of rich butter, and cheese, vegetables, grains, 



and fruits were arranged in attractive fashion, the 
whole effect being a worthy tribute to the taste of , 
the committee in charge of the Adair County offer- | 

The Taylor County display also delighted the 
thousands who visited the booth. Suspended from 
the elaborately decorated ceiling a large wooden 
egg, thirty-three inches long and thirteen inches in 
diameter, called attention to the poultry business of 
the county. On the egg sat perched a small bantam 
hen and below it hung a card with the notice : **Hens 
laid 532,540 dozen eggs, worth 12c per dozen, or 
$63,904.80." The center piece of this booth was a 
miniature residence of Queen Anne style, set in a 
lawn of close-cropped blue grass sprayed by numer- 
ous fountains. Gravel walks, bordered with flowers, 
extended around the house and across the lawn. 
Back of the house lay a lake with its banks embow- 
ered with flowers. The sunlight on the fountains, 
the velvety green of the lawn, the white walks, and 
the little house perfect in detail made one of the 
most charming pictures in the palace. The side 
walls of the booth were completely covered with 
pictures made of seeds, clover heads, corn husks, 
and ears of com. One was a life-size horse con- 
structed entirely of red clover heads, another of 
seeds and grain represented a Holstein cow, while a 
third was a sheep made of oats and wheat. Pyra- 
mids of fruit and vegetables, tubs of butter, shelves 
full of glasses of jelly, preserves, and canned apples, 


pears, peaches, plums, and berries completed a dis- 
play to which the judges awarded second prize at 
the close of the exposition. 

Fremont County captured the first prize of $100 
offered by the Blue Grass League to the county 
making the best display. It was a center of atten- 
tion throughout the exposition. Like most of the 
booths the ceiling was covered with cornstalks, 
wheat, and oats, and the side walls were hidden 
completely by a covering of grains and grasses, but 
the arrangement of the Fremont exhibit was unique 
and unusually attractive. Long tables in raws down 
the center of the apartment were covered with white 
linen and held china plates piled high with apples, 
plums, peaches, pears, grapes, and berries. Beneath 
the tables cabbages, potatoes, carrots, beets, pump- 
kins, cauliflower, squashes, melons, tomatoes, celery, 
and egg plants were piled in heaps. Around the 
walls stood sacks with open tops displaying shelled 
com, oats, wheat, barley, rye, millet, flax, broom 
corn, timothy, clover, and blue grass seed, while 
corn was also shown in the stalk and wheat and oats 
in bundles. Butter and cheese exhibits occupied a 
large space. One entire side of the apartment was 
filled with a fine arts exhibit — paintings and draw- 
ings in crayon, oil, water colors, and pastel — all 
the work of Tabor College students. Another stu- 
dent at that institution had arranged a display of 
seventy-six varieties of wood, all native of the coun- 
ty. A parlor with rustic furniture, constructed 



from the products of the farm, was also a conspicu- 
ous feature of the Fremont prize-winning booth. 

On Monday the twenty-fifth, the district fair be- 
gan and with the racing program, the carnival 
gaiety, and the live stock exhibit it afforded the 
crowds new thrills and a revival of old delights. 
The thousands who surged back and forth from 
grandstand and amphitheater to the blue grass pal- 
ace, from the quarter-stretch to the live stock barns 
reflected the lowan's delight at a country fair. The 
showing of fat hogs, of fine sleek cattle, and of pedi- 
greed horses taxed the capacity of the barns and 
sheds. The racing stables were also full. Grooms 
in old sweaters and dusty clothing discussed the 
races of the day with diminutive jockeys clad in the 
gay colors of their calling. The spielers of the side 
shows found a receptive audience, while the lemon- 
ade stands and refreshment booths did a rushing 
business. Fakirs, too, plied their trade and the 
carnival spirit reigned. 

The fame of the blue grass palace spread. Ot- 
tumwa sent a delegation to Creston and Sioux City 
did likewise. The railroads advertised round-trip 
excursions for one-way fare and ran special trains 
daily to accommodate the visitors. Although no 
automobiles existed it was not uncommon for parties 
to drive to the fair from a distance of thirty miles 
or more, and stay two or three days. Creston hotels 
and restaurants reaped a golden harvest and the 
hackmen prospered. The unusual and distinctive 


features of the displays were described in the news- 
papers throughout the State. Different counties of 
the Blue Grass League had charge of the programs 
on successive days, each striving in friendly rivalry 
to make the best showing. As a means of broad- 
casting the natural advantages of the fertile acres 
of southwestern Iowa, as a test of the ability of the 
people of this region to cooperate in a big enterprise, 
as a financial undertaking, and as a method of com- 
bining carnival fun with an educational program 
the Blue Grass Palace Exposition of 1890 was a 
complete success. 

The following year and again in 1892 blue grass 
palaces advertised southwestern Iowa. Lyman Ab- 
bot of New York and W. C. P. Breckenridge of 
Kentucky were two of the speakers who came to 
mold opinion on topics of the day. Although of the 
same size and shape as the palace of 1890 alterations 
changed the appearance of the entrance in 1891 and 
made access to the suspension bridge more conveni- 
ent. Probably the most striking feature of the third 
palace was a huge movable panorama composed of 
paintings depicting actual scenes from the blue grass 
region. In 1892 the outside of the palace building 
was painted to represent the stone walls of an old 
castle, the towers were painted to resemble brick, 
and the roof again was thatched. But the Blue 
Grass League had passed out of existence, and by 
this time the novelty of the palace idea had worn off 
so that the project was abandoned thereafter. 

Beuce E. Mahan 

The Ottumwa Coal Palace 

Great things often spring from small beginnings. 
So it was with the Ottumwa coal palace. Some- 
time late in the year of 1889 three of Ottumwa 's 
most prominent citizens — Henry Phillips, Calvin 
Manning, and Peter G. Ballingall — met to consider 
the advisability of erecting a coal palace to proclaim 
to the world the rich gifts of nature in southern 
Iowa. Interest in the project spread and other 
meetings were held. A company was organized and 
stock was sold at five dollars a share. As time 
passed, however, it became more and more difficult 
to raise sufficient money. People were perfectly 
willing to have a coal palace built but seemed un- 
prepared to supply the funds for such an expensive 

At last the zero hour arrived. The promoters 
realized that the money must be secured at once or 
the whole scheme abandoned. A mass meeting was 
called. Several of the business men of Ottumwa 
urged the people to double their stock in the com- 
pany but few responded. The coal palace project 
seemed to be doomed. Suddenly Mr. Ballingall ap- 
peared on the stage. Voicing his enthusiasm in a 
loud tone accompanied by frantic gestures and in- 
creasing his own subscription to seven hundred 
dollars, he succeeded in reviving the optimism of the 



assembly. One man bought two hundred shares in 
the coal palace, and before the meeting ended over 
thirty thousand dollars had been promised. 

The summer of 1890 was a busy one in Ottumwa. 
While the coal palace was being erected elaborate 
plans were made for the exposition. All of the coun- 
ties in the coal-mining district of Iowa were invited 
to display their wares in the palace and many prom- 
inent men were invited to come to Ottumwa during 
the festival season. 

The morning of the opening day of the palace, 
September 16, 1890, dawned cool and cloudy, but 
about nine o ^clock the clouds cleared away and when 
Governor Horace Boies arrived later in the fore- 
noon the sun was shining brightly. At one-thirty a 
long procession, headed by the Iowa State Band, the 
Governor, the directors of the coal palace, city offi- 
cials, and a company of militia, formed on Main 
Street and marched west to the great black diamond 
palace near the Burlington passenger station. 

There in the Sunken Park, which had once been 
the bed of the Des Moines River before the railroad 
had turned the stream from its course, was an im- 
posing structure. Fully two hundred and thirty feet 
in length, more than half as wide, the central tower 
rising to the height of two hundred feet, the high 
battlemented walls, the numerous turrets, and the 
tall narrow windows — all contributed to an appear- 
ance of mediaeval feudalism. The somber aspect of 
the frowning castle was intensified by the glittering 



jet of the coal which veneered the walls. In archi- 
tectural style the building was a combination of the 
Gothic and Byzantine orders. 

Directly above the main entrance were the words 
*^Coal Palace^' formed with coal that glistened in 
the sunlight and stood out clearly against a silver- 
gray background. High on the tower above were 
two pictures, one portraying conditions in the car- 
boniferous age and the other a modern coal mine, 
while between them stood a miner with his pick 
raised in the act of striking. Across the front of the 
building on either side of the entrance tower the first 
story projected from the line of the upper wall, 
forming a balcony. Just below the battlements of 
this balcony ran a broad frieze upon which were de- 
signs representing the industries of Ottumwa. The 
turrets at the four corners of the great central 
tower were veneered with cubes of coal laid so as to 
expose three sides and reflect the light from the dif- 
ferent faces. In the tower itself, one hundred and 
fifty feet above the ground, was an observation 
gallery and dancing pavilion. 

Viewed from the outside the coal palace was more 
imposing than artistic, but within grace and beauty 
reigned. The pillars, walls, rafters, and ceiling were 
completely hidden by the exhibits and exquisite deco- 
rations. Corn, oats, wheat, rye, barley, millet, blue 
grass, timothy, clover, and flax were skillfully ar- 
ranged in brilliant masses of color. Around the 
walls of the palace were beautiful panels containing 


pictures in corn symbolical of agriculture, industry, 
mechanics, music, art, literature, geography, and 

Directly opposite the main entrance was a cascade 
so cleverly constructed that the line of demarcation 
between the banks of the stream and the painted 
valley could not be discerned. Miniature crags and 
boulders jutted out of the water, trees were growing 
in the valley, a suspension bridge spanned the abyss, 
and calcium lights from behind threw a rainbow 
into the falls. Immediately in front of the cataract 
was a spacious platform on which notable men, fa- 
mous bands, the coal palace chorus, old Powhatan 
and his dusky braves, or the Mikado with his retinue 
claimed attention every evening. 

Except for the space occupied by the auditorium 
the lower floor and the spacious gallery were en- 
tirely devoted to the display of agricultural, mineral, 
and mechanical products. The counties of the coal 
palace region vied with each other to produce the 
most pleasing exhibit ; the Blue Grass League sent a 
splendid display; two meat packing plants were 
represented by booths; and the Northern Pacific 
Eailroad was advertised by the most magnificent 
showing of all. 

No doubt the most unique attraction at the coal 
palace was the miniature mine. Entering the dark, 
coal-lined shaft from the gallery the visitor was 
lowered slowly to the labyrinthine recesses beneath 
the palace. There a meek and noncommittal mule 



Htclied to a train of pit cars waited for his load of 
passengers. The entries, rooms, and tracks were 
complete in every detail, rich veins of coal were vis- 
ible, and several miners were at work with pick and 
drill producing * ^ concentrated heat, light, and pow- 
er To the thousands of people who took the 
**mine route'' in the coal palace this demonstration 
was a revelation. 

During the coal palace season, which lasted from 
September 16th to October 11th, nearly every day 
was set apart in honor of some organization, county, 
or State. Governor Boies dedicated the palace on 
Iowa day. Missouri day was September 26th; the 
twenty-ninth was Cedar Rapids day ; Des Moines day 
came on the first of October; one day the railroads 
commanded attention; the traveling men, old sol- 
diers, miners, and ladies each had a day of their 
own ; and every coal-mining county surrounding 
Ottumwa and the blue grass region of southwestern 
Iowa took turns at flaunting their merits during the 

The climax of attractions was reached on the ninth 
of October when President Benjamin Harrison spent 
a day in Ottumwa. It was raining steadily at eight 
o'clock when the presidential train pulled into the 
station and few people were present to greet the 
chief executive. He was met by his brother, John 
S. Harrison of Kansas City, and taken immediately 
to the home of his sister, Mrs. D. T. Devin, where 
breakfast was served. The rain was still falling at 


ten o'clock when the President went to explore the 
coal palace, bnt at noon the clouds dispersed and at 
one o'clock the presidential party reviewed the 
grand parade. 

That afternoon an enormons crowd jammed into 
the coal palace to hear Mr. Harrison speak. The 
President declared that he was particularly inter- 
ested to see the things of beauty that had been made 
of familiar materials. **If I should attempt to inter- 
pret the lesson of this structure", he said, should 
say that it was an illustration of how much that is 
artistic and graceful is to be found in the common 
things of life and if I should make an application of 
the lesson it would be to suggest that we might prof- 
itably carry into all our homes and into all neigh- 
borly intercourse the same transforming spirit". 

At this juncture the cascade was turned on and 
the rush of water completely drowned the Presi- 
dent's voice. Perfectly at ease when contending 
with a brass band, he had never before been asked 
to speak in the roar of Niagara. had supposed", 
he said when the waterfall had been stopped, ^Hhat 
no political suggestion of any sort was to be intro- 
duced into this friendly concourse of American citi- 
zens", and he felt that he had ^'good cause for 
grievance against the prohibitionists for interrupt- 
ing us with this argument for cold water." 

Mr. Harrison dined at the home of W. D. Felton, 
an old friend and former resident of Indianapolis. 
In the evening nearly ten thousand people crowded 



into the coal palace for the privilege of shaking 
hands with the President. It was nearly nine o 'clock 
when the reception ended and a few minutes later 
the special train pulled out for St. Joseph, Missouri. 

For more than a year the coal palace stood as a 
monument to the enterprise of the citizens of Ot- 
tumwa. It was readomed and opened again in con- 
nection with the festival in 1891 which was not as 
successful as the first had been. Though the exposi- 
tion was attractive, the waterfall was improved, and 
the mine continued to operate, enthusiasm for the 
project seemed to have subsided. Neither General 
Eussell A. Alger, Governor Horace Boies, nor Eep- 
resentative William McKinley drew the crowds that 
had visited the first coal palace. The structure was 
later torn down and the Ottumwa coal palace passed 
into history. 

Carl B. Kbeiner 

Comment by the Editor 


Art is universal. Every people of every land in 
every age have felt the urge to express themselves 
in terms of beauty. Emotions, aspirations, ideas, 
and achievements have been idealized in poetry, mu- 
sic, painting, sculpture, and buildings. The '^frozen 
music of architecture with its harmony and bal- 
ance of line, its facilities for ornamentation, its en- 
durance, and its combination of utility and grace is 
particularly adapted to the portrayal of human 

What could be more symbolical in Iowa art than 
the palaces that sprang from the soil ! Nor were the 
corn palaces, the coal palace, and the blue grass pal- 
aces the only ones that were built. Mason City had 
a flax palace; Algona erected a hay palace; and 
Davenport talked of an onion palace. Perhaps the 
St. Paul ice palace or the crystal palace of London 
inspired the idea; but nowhere before had the con- 
ception been so completely expressive of purpose, so 
inherently meaningful. The Iowa palaces served as 
significant memorials of substantial achievement, 
erected by a grateful, joyous, and prosperous people 
who lived in a land of plenty. 


As the Ides of March was a tragic day in ancient 
Rome, so the twenty-fifth of April will be long re- 



membered in Sioux City. At one o'clock on tliat i 
fatal day in 1893 D. T. Hedges, the wealthiest man in j 
the city, assigned all his property to his creditors. 
Ten minutes later the Union Loan and Trust Com- 
pany failed, and with it the financial foundation of 
Sioux City crumbled. 

For a decade money had poured into the city, big 
industries had been founded, and the astonishing re- 
sults had been heralded widely. Then the achieve- 
ment of years was undone in a flash. Within an hour 
the owners of the union stock yards, one of the pack- 
ing plants, two railroads, and the Sioux City termi- 
nal were bankrupt. The amazing growth of the 
Metropolis of the Northwest'', to which the famous 
com palaces had contributed much, was a thing of 
the past, and the roseate hopes of the future were 
transformed into the substance of dreams. 

J. E. B. 


That 1900 Football Team 345 

. John Ely BiCiGGs 

The ^orfff s Series of I sl 1 346 

^ Chester H. Kirby 

Adrian C, Anson 374 


Comment 379 

The Editor 





The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Vol. Ill ISSUED IN November 1922 No. 11 


That 1900 Football Team 

The football season of 1899 had been a splendid 
success for the State University of Iowa. A fast, 
powerful,, well-coached team had gone through a 
series of ten games without a single defeat. No 
opponent had crossed the Iowa goal line — a dis- 
tinction which not another university team in the 
whole country could claim. Only five points had 
been scored against that Iowa eleven — the result 
of a place kick by Chicago against whom Iowa made 
a touchdown for an equal number of points. Later 
Chicago defeated Cornell University and outplayed 
Pennsylvania in a tie game. Victories by the Uni- 
versity over Ames and Grinnell had established a 
clear title to the championship of the State, and 
after Nebraska had been decisively eliminated by a 
score of 30 to and Illinois overwhelmed on Thanks- 
giving Day 58 to (this game was ended by mutual 
consent ten minutes before the time was up), it was 




the general consensus of opinion that the Iowa foot- 
ball team of 1899 was the best in the West if not 
also the equal of any in the East. At the close of 
the season Iowa had been admitted to the Inter- 
collegiate Conference, popularly known thereafter 
as the ^^Big Nine''. 

So when the University opened in the fall of 1900 
hope ran high for even more glorious achievements 
on the gridiron. Dr. A. A. Knipe, captain of the 
Pennsylvania championship eleven of 1894, was 
entering upon his third season as football coach at 
Iowa. All but two of the famous team of '99 were 
back in school, and at least seven of them had had 
two years of training in the ^^Pennsylvania sys- 

John G. Griffith, better known as ^ ' Reddy ' ', was 
captain, playing his fourth year of varsity football. 
Though one of the smallest men on the team his 
ability to gain ground qualified him for the position 
of full back. At quarter back was Clyde Williams, 
a brilliant field general, accurate in passing the ball, 
and a marvel at returning punts. Ray A. Morton, 
the fastest man on the squad and former Shelby 
high school team mate with Williams, was ready 
for his third year at right half back. W. C. Edson, 
who had begun his college football career at Ames 
and played left half back on the University team the 
preceding year, conspicuous for his quick judgment 
and his stiff, leather-eased hand, was out for his old 
position. The captain, of the famous team of '99, 


Morey L. Eby, star end and tackle during three sea- 
sons, could be depended upon for almost any line or 
back field berth, while Bert Watters, the aggressive, 
sure-tackling right end, was ready to compete with 
all comers for his old position. Joseph S. Warner, 
over six feet in height, had played two years at left 
tackle and had developed into the best kicker on the 
team. At the other tackle position was Emmet F. 
Burrier, a powerful defensive player and just the 
man to head a tackle-back play. He had been 
shifted from his former left guard position of two 
seasons to make a place for Ernest H. Little, one of 
the biggest men on the squad but new to the game. 
James M. Brockway gave promise of being the 
same dashing right guard he had been in 1899. 
The position of center rush" was the only real 
vacancy on the team. M. E. Baker, who had held 
the place two years, was not in school ; and C. 0. , 
Briggs was scarcely in a class with the rest of the 
team either in experience or ability. Before the 
season opened, however, Asher W. Ely, a six footer, 
twenty-eight years old, bald-headed, and weighing 
over two hundred and twenty-five pounds, was in- 
duced to don the moleskins and filled the gap with 
entire satisfaction. 

Three weeks before the University opened a dozen 
or more candidates for the team went into training 
at Linder's boathouse on the Iowa River two miles 
north of Iowa City. Living in the open; learning 
anew the fundamentals of tackling, kicking, block- 



ing, passing the ball, and running interference; 
spending leisure hours fishing, rowing, and swim- 
ming; and devouring enormous quantities of the 
excellent food prepared by Mrs. Linder, the squad 
was in splendid condition for the first game on Sep- 
tember 28th. 

The season opened auspiciously when Upper Iowa 
was defeated by a score of 57 to in a muddy game. 
A drizzling rain which converted the newly graded 
gridiron into a sea of mud absorbed most of the 
snap and enthusiasm that had characterized the 
Iowa team of the previous year. The only display 
of speed occurred during the first minute of play. 
After Captain Griffith had returned the kick-off 
twelve yards and Brockway had plowed through the 
line for three more, left tackle Warner circled the 
end on a fake play and ran seventy-five yards for a 
touchdown. But the ball soon became so slippery 
that fumbles were frequent, while the weight of 
mud-soaked uniforms and the recurrence of long 
runs were very exhausting. The game proved noth- 
ing as to the ability of the team. 

Eecalling the defeat administered by the State 
Normal team two years before, the friends of the 
Iowa team awaited with considerable misgiving the 
second game on the schedule. It was reported that 
while the Normal team was green, it had shown re- 
markable development under the tutelage of Fred 
A. Williams, a former Iowa star. The University 
eleven on the contrary seemed to lack teamwork and 


its reputed speed. After the first five miimtes of 
play, however, all doubt of the superiority of 
Knipe's men vanished. The first half, replete with 
fumbles and long end runs, ended with a score of 
40 to and during the second session, played in a 
pouring rain, the University team — composed 
mostly of substitutes — added twenty-eight points 

Thus far the defensive strength of the Iowa elev- 
en had not been tested, but rumors came from 
Indianola that Simpson, the next opponent on the 
schedule, had a powerful team coached in the 
Pennsylvania style of play and fired with an ambi- 
tion to spoil the Iowa record of an uncrossed goal 
line. The fact that two members of the team were 
brothers of Kennedy, captain of the Chicago team 
of '99, added color to the reports. 

For a few minutes after the game began it ap- 
peared that the Hawkeyes had met their match. 
Simpson kicked off to the three yard line and Edson 
returned ten yards. Two line smashes failed to 
gain and Captain Griffith, almost in the shadow of 
his own goal posts, was forced to kick. From the 
forty yard line the Simpson players advanced 
steadily down the field until they made first down 
inside the Iowa five yard line. Twice the Simpson 
tackles were called back and bucked the line with all 
their might. The coveted goal was less than a yard 
away when they lined up for their final effort. But 
the Old Gold warriors held, Warner punted, and the 



crisis was past. A few minutes later Simpson 
kicked from the forty yard line and Williams, with 
splendid interference, returned to the former line of 
scrimmage. A series of smashes gained twenty-five 
yards and Watters added thirty-five around the end. 
Three more plays and the score was 5 to for Iowa. 

The remainder of the game was an exhibition of 
sensational open field running and brilliant tackling 
on the part of the Iowa team. Twice Edson wrig- 
gled loose from a bunch of tacklers and ran for a 
touchdown — once a distance of forty yards and 
later sixty. One play in particular brought the spec- 
tators to their feet in admiration: Williams caught 
a punt and carried the ball sixty-five yards through 
the entire Simpson team for the final touchdown of 
the game. Only two circumstances dampened Iowa 
enthusiasm: fumbles were altogether too numerous 
and Captain Griffith was compelled to leave the game 
with a sprained knee — an injury that kept him on 
the side lines most of the remainder of the season. 

The score of 47 to over Simpson, while it indi- 
cated some brilliant offensive work, was no measure 
of defensive strength. A game with Ames, sched- 
uled for October 19th, had to be cancelled on account 
of an epidemic of typhoid fever among members of 
the Ames squad, which left Iowa with no further 
preparation for the Drake game on October 26th. 
While the Hawkeyes were idle Drake held the strong 
Nebraska team to a score of 8 to 0. The Des Moines 
team had previously defeated Grinnell 6 to and 


piled up fifty-one points against State Normal. A 
train load of rooters accompanied tlie team to Iowa 
City, determined that the Iowa goal line should be 
crossed and the championship of the State decided 
in favor of Drake. The railroads offered excursion 
rates and Iowa City was filled to overflowing. 

During the first half the outlook was gloomy for 
the Hawkeye following. Both teams presented a 
stonewall defense. Time and again Iowa carried the 
ball within the twenty yard line only to lose it on a 
fumble. Once when the Drake quarter back dropped 
a punt Eby recovered near the goal, but Drake held 
within her three yard line and kicked out of danger. 
Just before the end of the first half Warner scored 
five points with a field goal by place kick. During 
the second period Iowa's weight and interference 
began to tell and four touchdowns were scored. At 
one time Drake stopped the Iowa march on her one 
yard line but later a Drake punt from the same posi- 
tion was blocked, Iowa recovered, and one plunge by 
Eby — ^who was playing full back in place of Cap- 
tain Griffith — was sufficient to score. 

The crucial test for the Old Gold team of 1900 
came on November 3rd when they met the Chicago 
Maroons on Marshall Field. It was reported that 
Coach Stagg's proteges had a wholesome respect 
for the *'corn fed*' boys who had come out of the 
West the previous autumn and rushed them off their 
feet. While Chicago had been unable to stop the 
famous Pennsylvania guards-back'' play the pre- 



vious week in Philadelphia, they were confident that 
the Iowa guards were not as formidable as those of 
the mother institution. At the same time optimism 
prevailed in the Hawkeye camp. Competent ob- 
servers of the Drake game had been impressed with 
the great variety of the Iowa plays. In truth the 
Iowa team had a reputation for employing unique 
formations and being coached to take advantage of 
all the opportunities the rules afforded. The hot 
weather was blamed for the fumbling and loose of- 
fensive play. 

Both teams were given splendid ovations when 
they came on the field at 2:30 o'clock. Fully six 
thousand cheering spectators filled the bleachers. 
The Chicago captain won the toss and chose to de- 
fend the south goal with the wind at his back. Iowa 
kicked off to the five yard line and the game was on. 
The Hawkeyes began with a cautious type of play 
which kept them on the defensive, punting whenever 
there was danger of being held for downs. Nearly 
ten minutes had elapsed before either team made an 
earnest attempt to score. Then Iowa took the ball 
on Chicago's forty-five yard line and, calling the 
guards-back and tackles-back plays into service, be- 
gan to plow down the field. The heavy Hawkeye 

rushes'' plunged into the Maroon line for one, two, 
and three yard gains. Steadily foot by foot Chi- 
cago was forced to retreat. Again and again the 
referee yelled First down, five yards to gain!" 
On the side lines the Iowa crowd cheered fran- 


tically : * ^ He-rah, hi-rah. Play ball, Iowa ' \ Within 
fifteeix yards of the goal the Maroon defense stif- 
fened, Chicago kicked out of danger, and Iowa re- 
sumed the defensive. 

Now came the Chicago rooters' chance to cheer. 
Taking the pigskin on their thirty yard line Stagg's 
men launched their one great drive for Iowa's un- 
crossed goal line. The first play gained eleven yards 
around end and was followed by a series of center 
smashes that were good for two first downs. A 
penalty against the Hawkeyes and a ten yard run 
netted twenty yards more. Then followed short 
gains interspersed with losses until Chicago was in 
position to try for a field goal. Twice within a few 
minutes Henry of Chicago attempted place kicks but 
both times the ball went wide. The tide seemed to 
have turned when Captain Griffith picked up a fum- 
ble and broke away for fifteen yards, but enthusiasm 
turned to gloom a moment later when the doughty 
captain had to be carried from the field, seriously 
injured. On an exchange of punts Chicago fumbled, 
Iowa recovered on the thirteen yard line, and hope 
once more revived. Here was a golden opportunity 
and the lowans hit the Chicago line with every ounce 
of energy they could muster. At the critical point, 
however, they became a little too anxious, a trifle 
self-conscious, and the result was a fumble on the 
Chicago eight yard line. And so the first half 
ended — Chicago 0, Iowa 0. 

The second half is a different story. The Iowa 



team came upon the field fresh, enthusiastic, and 
determined, while the Maroons appeared tired, and 
dispirited, their confidence shattered. From the 
very beginning the fates were all with Iowa. Little 
caught the kick-off on the twenty-five yard line and 
returned it twenty yards. Eby, who had replaced 
Griffith at full back, made ten yards in two downs. 
After an exchange of punts, Iowa took the ball in the 
middle of the field and settled down to steady, 
smashing play. The powerful tandem formations of 
guards-back and tackles-back pierced the weary Ma- 
roon line for consistent gains. When the secondary 
defense came in too close Williams would send his 
flying interference around the ends with bewildering 
speed. It was on such a play that Edson made a 
brilliant fifteen yard run. Once Chicago recovered 
the ball but lost it a moment later on a fumble and 
the Hawkeye offensive was resumed. At six min- 
utes to four Eby went over the goal for a touchdown 
and pandemonium broke loose among the lowans. 
Over the telephone in Iowa City the Hawkeye battle 
cry could be heard distinctly : * * Haw-haw-haw, hi-hi- 
hi, Hawkeye-Hawkeye, S. U. I.'' 

Combining clock-like precision with splendid foot- 
ball strategy and brilliant execution, only five min- 
utes were required for the Iowa team to send Edson 
across for the second touchdown. The remainder of 
the game was a kicking duel with all the advantage 
in favor of Warner. When the ball had been ad- 
vanced within twenty-five yards of the Chicago goal 


he substituted a place kick for a punt and added the 
final five points to the score. Probably the greatest 
thrill of the game came on the last play before time 
was called when Edson ran thirty-five yards to the 
Chicago four yard line. 

Iowa had won decisively. Those who saw the 
game were extravagant in their praise of the west- 
erners. The Chicago newspapers united in the 
opinion that the best team had won. More than that 
— the lowans apparently possessed all of the quali- 
fications of a championship team. To be sure the 
championship had not yet been decided but the show- 
ing at Chicago and the record of an uncrossed goal 
line were strong presumptions in favor of Iowa. 
The Old Gold eleven had met its first severe trial 
and had emerged victorious: only two more obsta- 
cles — Michigan and Northwestern — remained to 
be surmounted. Michigan could always be depended 
upon as a formidable antagonist. Already the 
Wolverines had ruined the hopes of three conference 
teams — Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana — and they 
had no intention of allowing Iowa to interrupt their 
series of victories. 

Following the Chicago game the Hawkeye squad 
went into camp at Mt. Clemens near Detroit, where 
the men were taught an entirely new set of plays. 
That the team used a repertory of at least seventy- 
five formations and plays is a significant commen- 
tary upon the mentality of the men who composed it 
and the versatility of their game. Only the most 



exact teamwork and wholehearted loyalty on the 
part of each man toward his fellows could make 
such a system successful. 

By two o'clock on November 10th Bennett Park 
in Detroit began to fill with thousands of people 
who braved the raw, inclement weather to see the 
game that would probably decide the football cham- 
pionship of the West. The bleachers seemed aglow 
with chrysanthemums, and the Maize and Blue of 
Michigan was everywhere. With a strong wind at 
their backs and a sleet storm in the faces of their 
opponents, the Wolverines decided upon the strategy 
of a punting game. After the kick-off the teams 
lined up quickly, and Sweeley, star Michigan kicker, 
dropped back for a punt inside his five yard line. 
The Hawkeye rushes tore through the Wolverine 
line so fast that Sweeley barely had time to recover 
a bad pass from center. Once more he attempted to 
punt, but the pass was too high and an lowan 
pounced on the ball. With indomitable determina- 
tion to make the most of their advantage the aggres- 
sive Hawkeyes pushed Eby over for the first touch- 
down. Not quite two minutes had elapsed since the 
game began. 

But the game was not yet won. Twice within the 
next few minutes the Wolverines, fighting grimly to 
turn the tide, advanced well into Iowa territory and 
twice Sweeley tried for a field goal. Each time he 
failed. Warner punted to the center of the field and 
Michigan — still placing her faith in the strong 


right foot of the redoubtable Sweeley, and a favor- 
able wind — was more than willing to accept a punt- 
ing duel. The only flaw in their plan of attack was 
a failure to reckon with Williams. Catching the 
ball, he eluded the fast Michigan ends and sped 
down the field, dodging, hurdling, and sidestepping 
the tackier s who closed in on every side. Not until 
he had put nearly half the length of the field behind 
him was he brought to a stop. Springing into their 
positions, the Hawkeyes executed a series of end 
runs, double passes, and line smashes that com- 
pletely bewildered the Michiganders who had been 
taught to stop only the guards-back play. Every 
scrimmage was a surprise. The lowans played with 
the dash and confidence that comes from perfect 
teamwork and an unbroken line of victories. It was 
a beautiful exhibition of fast, clever football and 
resulted in another touchdown by Eby. The five or 
six thousand spectators, most of them Michigan stu- 
dents and residents of Detroit, could not restrain 
exclamations of admiration. Before the close of the 
period Iowa got possession of the ball near the mid- 
dle of the field and by good generalship, hard 
plunging, and irresistible interference swept down 
the field for the third touchdown. And so the first 
half ended — Iowa 17, Michigan 0. 

During the second half the Michigan defense stif- 
fened, but Iowa changed tactics and began hammer- 
ing at the Wolverine forwards who were already 
showing signs of fatigue. Steady line bucking grad- 



ually broke down the determined resistance. 
Warner, Burrier, Morton, and Williams repeatedly 
plowed through for long gains. Edson scored the 
fourth touchdown and three minutes later Morton 
made a sensational fifty yard run to the Michigan 
fifteen yard line. Again his number was called. 
Tearing around left end, he dodged through four 
tacklers and made for the corner of the field. Along 
the goal line raced full back Sweeley. Both men 
hurled themselves forward with all their force as 
they met on the one yard line. Morton was lifted 
bodily into the air. Standing on his head he flung 
his feet over and jerked across for a touchdown. 
To kick a goal from such an angle seemed impos- 
sible. Down went the ball on the side line, out shot 
Warner's foot, and true as a die the pigskin flew 
between the posts. It was a wonderful kick. 

Michigan no longer fought to win, but to score 
against the western invincibles. Clinching their 
teeth the Wolverines sent their backs into the line 
like battering rams. Fresh men were sent in when 
any weakened. Yard by yard they worked the ball 
down the field. But the Hawkeyes fought doggedly. 
Spectators marveled at their physical endurance, 
for not a substitution was made during the entire 
game. Finally the Michigan drive was halted and 
Warner punted. Watters, racing down the field, 
blind to the Michigan man's signal for a fair catch, 
tackled low and hard. Iowa was penalized fifteen 
yards and Michigan awarded a free kick for a field 


goal. The ball sailed straight between the posts. 

Playing in Detroit, far from home, and before a 
hostile crowd, the representatives of Old Gold had 
piled np the largest score that any team had regis- 
tered against the Maize and Blue in seven years. 
Generalship, alertness, speed, resourcefulness, and 
precision were the factors that determined the out- 
come of the Michigan game. The Detroit Free 
Press described the Hawkeyes in a graphic manner : 
^^They showed magnificent education and training 
from the tips of their long scalp locks to the soles of 
their perniciously active feet. Their brains worked 
like greased lightning set to clock work. They were 
shrewder than a strategy board and could mobilize 
in less time than is employed in an owPs wink. When 
they charged it was like a bunch of wing-footed ele- 
phants, and when they tackled one of the enemy it 
was as the embrace of a grizzly. They could kick 
harder than a gray mule with years of experience, 
and with the accuracy of a globe-sight rifle. ' ' 

The championship of the West seemed to be set- 
tled. The experienced and versatile Iowa eleven 
had decisively eliminated two of the strongest teams 
in the conference. Northwestern constituted the 
only serious obstacle in the way of a clean Hawkeye 
slate and an uncrossed goal line, but Northwestern 
in 1900 was a name to conjure with. The Purple 
team had defeated Indiana, held Illinois to a score- 
less tie, and finally scored a 5 to victory over their 
old Chicago rivals. The fact that Minnesota spoiled 



Northwestern championsMp hopes on November 
17th, while Iowa was overwhelming Grinnell, af- 
forded no assurance that the unexpected would not 
happen at Eock Island on Thanksgiving Day. 

On the eve of the game both teams appeared to be 
in the best of condition. Iowa was confident of vic- 
tory and Northwestern expected to keep the score 
low. Toward morning of November 29th, the day of 
the game, several of the Iowa players who were 
staying at a Davenport hotel awoke with severe 
pain in the stomach. They were covered with large 
blotches and beset by a terrible dysentery. Physi- 
cians managed to get them out of bed by noon, and 
in this weakened condition, sick and dispirited, the 
Hawkeyes entered the hardest contest of the season. 
Faint and trembling the men returned to their places 
after each scrimmage and played the game to the 
finish — not a single substitution was made. Just 
before the end of the last half after Northwestern 
had repeatedly threatened to score, only to be re- 
pulsed by the most strenuous exertion, Brockway 
and Little smashed through the strong, confident 
Northwestern line for forty yards on a series of 
guards-back plays. It was one of the finest exam- 
ples of sheer courage in the annals of college ath- 

The contest opened with both teams playing de- 
liberafely. Northwestern kicked otf to Morton who 
returned fifteen yards, but the Hawkeyes had no 
luck in penetrating the Purple line and Warner 


punted. Northwestern lined np slowly. Quarter 
back Hunter called the signal for a tandem smash 
through Eby and Warner headed by the mighty 
Dietz. The backs were tense as they waited for the 
ball to be snapped; the forwards crouched low; 
Hunter opened his hands and the tandem started 
like a snowplow. There was a shock of contact: 
Dietz got beyond the line but was thrown back by 
Eby and Morton: the referee pulled apart the tan- 
gled mass of humanity. Second down, five yards 
to gain", he yelled. An off tackle buck and another 
tandem netted the required five yards. **Dad'' 
Elliott, the future evangelist, skirted left end, gain- 
ing seven yards by the wide flank movement, and 
then Northwestern settled down to steady work. 
Consistent gains with their tandem advanced the 
ball to the Iowa thirty-five yard line where Eby broke 
up the play twice before it was started and Iowa took 
the ball on downs. 

So the battle raged. The lowans, realizing that 
their strength would not hold out to the end of the 
game, tried desperately to score. During the first 
half the struggle was almost entirely on Northwest- 
ern soil. The Purple warriors were forced back to 
their thirty-five yard line. Again and again they 
were thrown for a loss. Compelled to punt, their 
kick was blocked by Eby, but the ever present Elliott 
recovered on the ten yard line. Twice their tandem 
struck a stone wall before J ohnson punted. Griffith, 
who had recovered from his injury at Chicago, re- 


turned tlie compliment with interest, the ball cross- 
ing the Northwestern goal line. Again Johnson 
kicked and Williams, in a thrilling run that brought 
the spectators to their feet, followed Morton through 
the Northwestern team for thirty yards. But the 
second chance for an Iowa score went glimmering 
when Morton and Edson slipped in the mud on at- 
tempted end runs and Warner's place kick was 
blocked. Again the Hawkeyes ran the ball back 
within striking distance, again the ends failed to 
recover a punt over the Purple goal line, and again 
Northwestern kicked to the center of the field. 

Only a few minutes of the first half remained. 
The Old Gold players had more than held their own 
but the strain was beginning to tell. Gradually 
Northwestern was pressing into Iowa territory. 
The hearts of the Hawkeye rooters were sinking 
within them when of a sudden they were set pound- 
ing with joy. Eby broke through the line, accepted 
the ball from the Northwestern quarter, and raced 
for the goal line nearly fifty yards away. Iowa 5, 
Northwestern 0. If Warner had kicked the goal the' 
game would have been won. 

The most gruelling test of the famous Hawkeye 
team of 1900 came in the second half of that 
Thanksgiving game. Weak and sick but with the 
score in their favor they met the powerful, confident 
onslaught of the well-coached Northwestern eleven. 
Playing low and grimly, with teeth clinched, they 
stemmed the Purple tide again and again. For 


twenty-five minutes the battle was waged back and 
forth in the middle of the field. Finally Northwest- 
ern reached the Iowa twenty yard line, only to see 
Johnson's drop kick go wide. 

Warner punted only twenty yards and a moment 
later Northwestern tried another goal kick with no 
better success than before. An off-side play gave 
Northwestern the ball on the Hawkeye twenty yard 
line. Again the Purple half back tried for a field 
goal, but the kick was blocked and Williams recov- 
ered the ball on the Iowa five yard line. 

Only a few minutes of playing time remained. The 
spectators were frantic : the Iowa rooters implored 
the team to hold while the Northwestern crowd, ex- 
ultant in the unexpected strength of the Purple team, 
surged out upon the gridiron yelling themselves 
hoarse. For a while it seemed that the Northwest- 
ern invasion had been checked. Iowa refused to give 
possession of the ball to their opponents by punting, 
and the Hawkeye tackles, by desperate efforts, 
gained thirty yards before the Purple line could hold 
for downs. It was from there that Northwestern 
finally kicked the goal that tied the score. 

For the second consecutive season no opponent 
had defeated the Iowa eleven and none had crossed 
the Iowa goal line. That 1900 Hawkeye football 
team, it was generally conceded, deserved the title of 
intercollegiate champions of the West. 

John Ely Bbiggs 

The World's Series of 1891 

The baseball season of 1891 was hectic and desul- 
tory. Attendance was poor. Baseball finance was 
close upon the rocks of bankruptcy. As the summer 
waned many disputes threatened to disrupt the 
world of organized baseball, and the future of the 
game seemed problematic. 

In the Western Association — predecessor of the 
Western League — only two clubs managed to fight 
down internal dissension and resist the poignancy 
of an empty pocketbook. With grim determination, 
Kansas City and Sioux City struggled to finish the 
season. Before September the clubs representing 
Milwaukee, Lincoln, Duluth, and Minneapolis with- 
drew from the race, and soon afterward the Omaha 
club forfeited the remainder of its schedule to Den- 
ver and disbanded. 

The final clash for the championship lay between 
Kansas City with a percentage of .517 and Sioux 
City with .542. It was agreed that the two teams 
should play a series of five games. To win four of 
these games would give the coveted pennant to 
Kansas City, while only two were required to cinch 
the trophy for Sioux City. Kansas City made a 
good start by winning the first game, but the second 
went to Sioux City, whereupon R. E. Mulcahy, secre- 
tary of the Sioux City club, informed his supporters 




that **we are going to have the pennant just as sure 
as the sun shines and they needn't worry about the 
matter.'' He proved to be a good prophet for on 
September 18th the Western Association officially 
declared Sioux City champion. The remainder of 
the series was played as exhibition games. 

Interest in the East centered upon the champion- 
ship of the National League — the oldest and most 
respected organization of its kind. As the end of 
the season drew near it seemed certain that Chicago 
would win the pennant. During the last days, how- 
ever, Boston won five postponed games from New 
York and with them first place in the league. The 
official percentage was Boston .630 and Chicago .607. 
Since this good fortune could hardly be attributed 
to necromancy, the partisans of Chicago were prone 
to charge that there had been a conspiracy to 

throw" games to Boston. President James A. 
Hart of the Chicago club thought that New York 
must have shown either downright dishonesty" or 

gross incompetency" and declared his intention of 
leaving no stone unturned to discover the facts. An 
investigation was made by the directors of the Na- 
tional League, but nothing unsavory was found and 
the New York club was officially vindicated. 

In the American Association — precursor of the 
American League — another Boston club had won 
the undisputed championship. Hitherto it had been 
customary for the leading teams of the National 
League and the American Association to play a post- 



season series of games to decide the championship of 
the world. Since both of the winning teams in these 
leagues represented Boston in 1891, the question of 
superiority between the major leagues was not de- 
cided that year. 

Meanwhile, however, Chicago baseball fans, un- 
daunted by the official success of Boston, claimed 
championship for the Chicago Colts in the National 
League, and demanded an opportunity to demon- 
strate their prowess. The Sioux City Huskers, 
champions of the Western Association, were also 
casting about for new worlds to conquer. When 
baseball seemed to have come to a standstill the 
sport world of the West was suddenly rejuvenated 
on September 22nd by a telegram from President 
Hart stating that Chicago was willing to play **the 
world's series'' with Sioux City. Definite terms 
were quickly agreed upon, and it was not long before 
the notion that the approaching contest was ^^for the 
world's championship" had been generally accepted. 
A series of six games was arranged to be played at 
Evans Park in Sioux City on the five days beginning 
with Tuesday, October 5th. The Western Associa- 
tion, previously overlooked in contests for the 
championship of the world, was at last to come into 
its own, and the battle was actually to be fought in 
the West. The fans were agog with delight. 

The Huskers to play in the world's series ! It was 
unbelievable — an unparalleled event. When it be- 
came known that the details had been arranged 



Sioux City began at once to prepare for the historic 
contest. The whole Northwest seemed aflame with 
eager excitement. Aberdeen will close the town 
and see the games ' ^ was the keynote of a letter from 
that South Dakota town, some two hundred miles 
away. It was expected that a special train would be 
required for the Chicago fans. People in Huron, 
Kansas City, Mason City, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, 
Lincoln, Omaha, Denver, and many other places 
wrote anxiously for particulars. W. E. Peak, pas- 
senger agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. 
Paul Railroad on the Iowa and Dakota division, de- 
clared that *'all you can hear is baseball.'' The 
people along the railroad, he said, **want us to run 
special trains from every crossroad." 

Marshalltown in particular was interested, for the 
leader of the Chicago team was Adrian Anson, who 
had begun his career in that city. ^*01d Anson" 
was literally worshipped by the home town fans. 
One enthusiastic citizen gave vent to his feelings in 
a letter. Marshalltown", he wrote, ''will attend 
the world's championship games in a body. This is 
the home of Anson, the only 'Anse', and we will pull 
for our old boy, but we like the Huskers. They be- 
long to Iowa." 

In view of the intensity of interest throughout the 
West, it was confidently anticipated that an unprece- 
dented number of spectators would descend upon 
Sioux City for the games. Besides the world's 
series the com palace festival would be at its height. 



The coincidence of two such events seemed certain to 
attract enormous crowds. New bleachers capable 
of seating ten thousand people were hastily erected 
at the park. By eight o'clock on Saturday evening, 
October 3rd, two days before the initial contest, a 
thousand tickets had been sold. 

In the meantime there was much speculation as to 
which team was destined to be victorious. In as 
much as the Huskers and Colts had neither played 
against the same teams nor against each other, there 
was no basis for comparison, but that circumstance 
probably only added certainty to personal opinions. 
Lack of definite information was no hindrance to 
argument. Fans of all ages, colors, and tempera- 
ments, from far and near, talked or wrote or tele- 
graphed about the games. 

With enthusiasm at such heat, it must have been, a 
remorseless weather god indeed who greeted Sioux 
City on the morning of October 5th with a chilly 
dawn. Cold weather and baseball are incompatible. 
Undaunted, however, the fans received the Chicago 
Colts with considerable pomp. Three brass bands 
and sixteen hack loads of citizens formed a parade 
and escorted them to the park, where the procession 
was greeted by **a couple of thousand people who 
sat shivering on the hard seats. Humor was at a 
discount. A Chicago player attempted to break 
the ice ' ' by capturing a donkey that was browsing at 
the upper end of the race course ; but it was a sorry 
farce and barren of laughter. 



It was a tense moment at 3 :30 when Umpire Tim 
Hurst called Batter up and the first game began. 
Would the Colts gallop roughshod over the Husk- 
ers, or would the West vanquish the East? 

When the first inning ended and the score stood 
Sioux City 2, Chicago 0, the fans could scarcely be- 
lieve their senses. It seemed incredible. But per- 
haps the Colts were only toying with their oppo- 
nents. Still, inning after inning was chalked up 
without a score for Chicago. The Huskers mean- 
while ran in a tally in the fourth inning, another in 
the fifth, and three in the sixth. Not until the sev- 
enth inning were the shivering Colts able to make a 
score and when the game ended the Huskers had 
won by a score of eight to one. Captain Anson 
frankly admitted that his men had been outplayed. 
No team on earth, he declared, could stand out 
against such errorless playing. But perhaps this 
was only a pleasantry. 

The weather on the second day continued cold. 
It was reported that the voice of the umpire con- 
gealed before it had traveled a bat-length. **Poor 
Timmie ! his legs cracked like pine limbs in a winter 
wind as he meandered back and forth between the 
plate and the box, and large globules of water rolled 
over his eyelashes ' \ During the intervals the spec- 
tators gathered what amusement they could from 
the antics of a drunken policeman. 

The Chicago players, however, seemed to have 
found an antidote for the cold which had hindered 



their play in the first game. In the fifth inning, the 
Huskers indulged in a succession of fumbles. A 
newspaper reporter, frankly disappointed with the 
performance, wrote that * * the Huskers got to throw- 
ing the ball around just as the dear children toss 
about the autumn leaves, and came just as near hit- 
ting each other." After the first inning fortune 
went steadily against the Huskers, and before they 
could discover the Colts' secret of keeping their 
hands warm the game was over. Chicago 's play had 
stiffened. Probably Anson had been joking about 
the merits of the Sioux City team. 

Although the games were good, the attendance 
was not. That bogey of baseball had already ruined 
several clubs in the Western Association, and now 
threatened the world's series. In the hope of sup- 
plying with enthusiasm the warmth which the sun 
had denied, considerable space in the newspapers 
was devoted to advertising the series. Great black 
letters announced that the World's Championship 
Games" were being played and spectators were ad- 
vised to come early in order to avoid the rush. For 
only fifty cents, ladies being admitted free to the 
grand stand, ^^one of the greatest [games] ever 
witnessed on a diamond" could be seen; and An- 
son, the great and only Anson" would take part. 

Captain Anson, perhaps for the gratification of 
his father who was present at the third game, quit 
his regular position at first base and put on the 
catcher's mit. Neither team was confident and both 



were now playing with the most genuine earnest- 
ness. Chicago, determined to win, played furiously. 
At first the game was closely fought on both sides, 
but in the fourth inning a Husker failed to catch a 
long fly at a cost of three runs. In the seventh, the 
Sioux City pitcher, Meakin, made an unfortunate 
throw which allowed two more runs and the jig was 
up. The game ended with a score of nine to six for 
Chicago. Without doubt Captain Anson had been 
sarcastic in his comment. 

The Huskers, however, entered the fourth game 
determined to **be all or nothing.'' The raw north 
wind blew with equal unpleasantness on both teams 
— there was that consolation. It was a battle royal. 
If the game should go to Chicago, Sioux City could 
not win more than half the series, and Anson would 
not consider the possibility of a seventh game. The 
last inning came and the struggle was not decided. 
It was then that Billy Earle, with **his little black 
bat'' drove the ball quite out of sight and brought 
victory to the Huskers by a score of four to three. 
Again the games were even — two and two. It was 
for the future to determine whether Anson was 
joking or not. 

In order to conciliate the goddess of fortune who 
had begun to smile on the Huskers, an ardent fan 
brought to the fifth game an Indian mascot bril- 
liantly adorned with war paint. The Colts were in- 
tent upon retaining their laurels, and the Huskers 
were equally determined to add to theirs. 



For five innings, while the Chicago team gained 
two runs, the Huskers battled on without a score. 
Once in the third inning with two out Sioux City got 
a man on the bases and tried desperately to send 
him home, but their efforts were of no avail. During 
the same inning a Chicago batter drove the ball to 
the right of the Husker first baseman who leaped 
into the air **and when he came down he held the 
white sphere in his upraised palm like a modern res- 
toration of the Rhodian colossus Later in the 
game **Pop'^ Anson crashed a hot liner that seemed 
to be going for a safe hit into left field, but Van Dyke 
made a wonderful catch. In astonishment, scarcely 
believing his eyes, the umpire turned to Anson. 
*^Cap, you're out'^ he said, and Anson declared it 
was the most brilliant catch he had ever witnessed. 

Thus by virtue of spectacular playing the fifth 
game went to Sioux City; and the series stood Chi- 
cago two, Sioux City three. It was mathematically 
impossible now for the Huskers to lose the series, 
but the final game would determine whether they 
would win the championship or only tie. Could it 
be true that **01d Anse" had meant what he said? 

It was indeed a splendid exhibition of baseball 
that the enthusiastic crowd of four thousand people 
witnessed on the following day. Never was a game 
more hotly contested and seldom was one more re- 
plete with critical moments. From the very begin- 
ning every player exerted himself to the utmost. 
Strategy and alertness were at a premium. In the 



initial inning a Husker reached third base, and when 
the batter hit safely he dashed for the home plate. 
There stood Anson, his hands outstretched for the 
ball. Summoning all his speed, the runner slid 
across the plate in a cloud of dust just as the ball 
thumped into the catcher's mit above. Down went 
Anson's arm like a flash as he put the ball on the 
prostrate Husker whose impetus had carried him 
beyond the base. ^^You're out!" yelled the umpire, 
who had failed to see the runner touch the plate. 

Thus the contest continued. Though Sioux City 
took the lead, neither team could secure a permanent 
advantage. In the seventh inning the score was tied. 
Then came the crucial eighth. Again a Husker 
reached third base, but in an overzealous effort to 
score he was caught between two Colts. Just when 
it seemed that the game would be won, hopes were 
blighted. The grand stand was in an uproar. Back 
toward third base raced the Sioux City player, with 
''Pop" Anson in full pursuit. Suddenly the Husker 
turned, ran straight into the arms of the burly cap- 
tain, and when all seemed lost he dodged past and 
trotted across the plate. The game was saved. 

A few minutes later the world's series of 1891 
came to an end. The Sioux City Huskers had ''beat- 
en the earth" by winning four of the six games 
played. "Pop" had not been jesting after all. Ap- 
parently no team could withstand such playing as 
that of the Huskers. 

Chestee H. Kirby 

Adrian C. Anson 

**An uncompromising advocate of clean sports 
and athletics ' said K. M. Landis, speaking of 
Adrian Constantine Anson, the grand old man of 
baseball, who died on April 14, 1922. For more than 
twenty years **Pop'' Anson, as he was more famil- 
iarly called, was captain and manager of the Chicago 
National League baseball team. Indeed, to him 
probably more than anyone else, belongs the epithet 
of **father of the big league". 

Adrian Anson was the first white child born in 
Marshalltown, Iowa, and there he began his baseball 
career. Even as a youth in his teens he was rated as 
a good player on the grass lots of his home town. 
In 1869 he matriculated in the State University of 
Iowa where his chief interest seems to have centered 
in baseball rather than in grammar, arithmetic, his- 
tory, and penmanship. He is credited with having 
been instrumental in establishing the earliest form 
of organized athletics at the University. At the time 
he entered college he subscribed to a declaration that 
it was his 'intention to engage in the business of 
teaching in the schools of Iowa" and that his pur- 
pose in resorting to the University was to prepare 
himself *^for the discharge of this important duty." 
During the year, however, he seems to have altered 
his ambitions for his name does not appear again in 
the University roster. 


Underwood and Underwood 




It was in 1871 that Anson began Hs professional 
baseball career at Eockford, Illinois. Later be joined 
a PMladelpbia team. In 1874 be was a member of a 
team wbicb invaded England to play baseball and 
cricket. While the Americans knew very little about 
cricket their terrific batting offset their defects and 
they won every game played, including a remarkable 
victory over the famous Marylebone All-English 
eleven. The score in this game was 107 to 105 runs. 

It was while Anson w^as playing with the Phila- 
delphia nine that he formed a close friendship with 
A. G. Spalding, star pitcher on the Boston team and 
the best-known patron of American sport. Due in a 
measure to this friendship *^Pop'' joined Spald- 
ing's Chicago White Stockings club when the Na- 
tional League was formed in 1876. Experts say that 
there have been few stronger nines in the history of 
baseball. Spalding was the leader during the first 
year but Anson took his place as captain and man- 
ager in 1877. Billy'' Sunday also played on the 
team for a number of seasons. 

For twenty-one years Captain Anson piloted the 
Chicago * ^ Colts ' ', as they came to be called. Five 
times he won the undisputed championship of the 
National League. He was so much of a fixture in the 
Chicago club for such a long time that he was dubbed 
^^Pop" in honor of this paternal relation. After he 
retired in 1897 the club was for some years referred 
to as Orphans", an appellation that has since 
changed to ' * Cubs ' 



If there have been players whose performance sur- 
passed that of Anson for a season, certainly few if 
any have equaled his record over a long period. Of 
magnificent stature — over six feet in height and 
weighing nearly two hundred pounds — he kept in 
good physical condition. Strong and active, clear 
eyed and of keen perception, he had few equals as a 
batter. During the twenty-two years he played on 
the Chicago team his grand batting average was .348 
per cent. For three seasons — in 1879, 1881, and 
1888 — he led the league in batting, and ranked sec- 
ond or third in other years. He seldom struck at the 
first ball. always liked to see how they were 
coming,^' he said, ^'so I braced to make it appear I 
was going to swing without any intention of striking. 
I would pass the first one and sometimes the second. 
Then I would make ready for a blow. It is always 
worth a called strike or two to know how the balls 
are coming, and then, you know, it takes only one to 
line it out.*' 

As a fielder and base runner he merited the respect 
of the best of them. His regular position was at first 
base. In that capacity he stood at the head of the 
list in the National League, with a fielding average 
that ranged from .974 to .988 per cent. 

Among those responsible for the development of 
the great American game, the name of Adrian 
Anson stands out preeminently. His professional 
playing began when baseball had just emerged from 
the old game of ^ ' rounders ^ \ In technique the sport 



owes much to his playing, but it is in morale that his 
greatest service was rendered. Assuming a dignity 
unknown among professional players of an earlier 
day, Captain Anson and his team repudiated the 
tactics of ruffians. Anson insisted that his players 
ride to the ball park in carriages instead of in hacks ; 
they stayed at the best hotels ; and they wore dress 
suits in the evening. Because of his great ability as 
a player, but more particularly on account of his 
wholesome influence Pop'' Anson is one of the most 
conspicuous figures in the history of baseball. He 
played for the love of good sport : he flourished at a 
time when a base hit meant more than a week's pay. 

Genteel, courteous, and frank, full of appreciation 
for good playing, and always willing to give the op- 
posing team a square deal, Anson earned the confi- 
dence of the members of his own team and was also 
held in high esteem by his opponents. He never 
wrangled with the umpire. Instead, he submitted 
his arguments in a statesmanlike manner and did not 
hesitate to yield a point if the decision went against 
him. There are instances of contesting teams with- 
drawing a protest, upon being assured by the vener- 
able captain that a fair decision had been rendered. 
Though a strict disciplinarian, he never fretted or 
scolded. His clean sportsmanship, whether he re- 
ceived fair treatment or not, made him a favorite 

On the seventieth anniversary of his birthday, 
Pop" Anson was buried in Oakland Cemetery, near 



the park made famous by his playing. He used to 
say that he wanted the epitaph, **Here lies a man 
that batted .300 ' inscribed on his tombstone, but the 
world has accorded him a finer tribute. He will be 
known to posterity as a baseball celebrity — a man 
who fostered, protected, and developed the greatest 
of all American sports — but he will be honored most 
for his character and sportsmanship. 

J. A. Swisher 

Comment by the Editor 


The uses of athletics are many — good, bad, and 
indifferent. Some people earn their living by play- 
ing ball or turning somersaults. Others, with highly 
developed acquisitive traits, capitalize the physical 
prowess of men as a method of enriching themselves. 
Even the colleges do it. 

Athletics in mild form contribute to health, and in 
gentler diversions recreation is furnished. To those 
who lead a sedentary life physical exercise provides 
a wholesome safety valve for energy. 

Students of social psychology declare that athletic 
contests satisfy the instinct for combat. The boot- 
less pastime of abusing the umpire may have tended 
to keep America out of war! Team play combines 
the development of leadership with useful training 
in cooperation. 

Sportsmanship — including fair play, friendly 
rivalry, fortitude in the face of defeat, and gracious 
acceptance of victory — is perhaps as important a 
purpose as any. 

In America amateur athletics are largely confined 
to the schools. Paradoxical as it may seem, the op- 
portunity for play is often responsible for keeping 
boys at their lessons, while in college the eligibility 
requirement induces many a man to study when the 
etforts of the most inspiring instructor would fail. 
Strangely enough it is by the standard of athletic 




achievement that the American youth frequently 
selects the college where he will study mathematics, 
language, or law. 

Athletics furnish the most potent influence in 
arousing the spirit of loyalty and unity that char- 
acterizes college life. Lest alumni lose that spirit 
they are annually enticed to a homecoming — by a 
football game. 

For the hundreds of thousands who have filled the 
Coliseum, Stadium, or Bowl, who have shivered or 
roasted on hard plank seats, devoured peanuts, 
smoked tobacco, and howled at the athletes, physical 
exploits have always possessed peculiar fascination. 
The populace wants to be thrilled — and it matters 
but little apparently whether the spectacle is a bull 
fight or a ball game. The perversion of college ath- 
letics into commercial exploitation is a travesty on 
games played for fun. 

There are people who see competitive sport chiefly 
as an opportunity for gambling. Always demoral- 
izing, betting has sometimes been the cause of crim- 
inal offenses against the contestants — as when the 
Iowa football team was poisoned just before the final 
game in 1900. 

Perhaps the most innocent amusement that public 
sports afford to lookers-on is an occasion for court- 
ship, though it would seem that only the most san- 
guine would choose such a time and such a place for 
such a purpose. 

J. E. B. 


The Passing of Homer 3lSl 
Bessie L. LtoN 

Pilot Grove ' 390 

. _ _ _ p. A. Gark. _^ 

^ Comment 400 

Index 403 

' .Published Monthly At lowACmr By 

^^HE State HisroRicAi SooeiyofIowa 



The Palimpsest, issued monthly by the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion pf Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be rnore widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 



In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 

PRICE — 10c per copy: $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 

The Palimpsest 

Vol. Ill Issued in December 1922 No. 12 


The Passing of Homer 

Homer. What a name for a town! It seems to 
conjure up a vision of a well-ordered city, with 
close-cropped lawns and beautiful homes, churches 
overgrown with ivy, a good library, and modern, 
well-equipped schools. 

All of this classical suggestiveness in the name of 
Homer vanishes, however, in view of the reality: 
five or six small houses scattered indiscriminately 
along the road, numerous decayed piles of wreckage 
that tell the tale of what was once a habitation, two 
wooden church buildings, and a two-story frame 
schoolhouse. Yonder are piles of old stones and 
crumbling foundations which upon closer observa- 
tion appear to be the remains of two business build- 
ings — stores of by-gone days. At the northern 
extremity of the town is * ^ the store ' ' of the present 
— a building of indifferent appearance devoted to 
the needs of casual country shoppers and the Odd 
Fellows lodge. 




The Homer of to-day is an incarnation of the com- 
monplace, but the ramshackle appearance of the 
place is in itself indicative of better days. Though 
at present it is a mere dot upon the surface of Iowa 
it has had possibilities — possibilities that are gone 
like *Hhe glory that was Greece'^ and ^^the grandeur 
that was Rome ' ^ 

Webster County, embracing the territory former- 
ly included in Yell and Risley counties, was estab- 
lished by the State legislature in January, 1853. It 
was not until the following fall, however, that 
Homer, the first county seat, was located and platted 
near the geographical center of the new county. 
Early in 1854 David Carroll built the first log house 
in town. It was said to be about sixteen feet square 
— large enough to accommodate his family and 
household goods. Soon afterward Granville Burk- 
ley, the first postmaster in the county, built another 
house, which constituted not only his dwelling, but 
served as a post office also. It is reported that he 
kept the mail in a box under his bed, and those who 
called were free to examine the contents for them- 
selves. By 1856 the population of Homer amounted 
to approximately six hundred people. 

The first postmaster, Granville Burkley, seems to 
have been a versatile man. He practiced law, taught 
school, and upon occasion he turned carpenter. It 
was he who erected the first schoolhouse in Homer, 
and whether he did not build according to the speci- 
fications — as many later contractors for school 


buildings have been known to do — or whatever was 
wrong, the people refused to accept the building and 
Burkley declared that school should not be held 
there. No doubt sundry small boys hoped that the 
key would never be surrendered, but a compromise 
was reached and the new schoolhouse was used in 
the winter of 1854 and 1855. 

After the General Assembly had created Webster 
County, an election was ordered to be held on the 
first Monday in April, 1853. The polls were located 
at the home of William Pierce, and whether his 
fellow voters felt so grateful to him for his hospi- 
tality or whether he had exceptional judicial capac- 
ity, at all events Mr. Pierce became the first county 

This election was merely to fill the county offices 
until the regular general election on August 1, 1853, 
and the records attest that the judge and treasurer 
received the salary of $12.50 each for their four 
months' service. 

The first record of Judge Pierce's official career 
was the issuance of a marriage license to John J. 
Holmes and Emily Lyon, on May 14, 1853. Holmes 
was a doctor over at Fort Dodge, and pretty Emily 
was a cousin of my father. Could Judge Pierce have 
foreseen the end of this ill-starred marriage, he 
might have felt that it was an omen of ill luck for the 
town. The marriage was a failure, and the fate of 
Homer was worse than failure — it was a tragedy. 

Court was held in the schoolhouse at the new 



county seat, and many an interesting session not 
pertaining to pedagogy mnst have taken place in the 
house of learning. As the first county attorney, 
Granville Burkley probably enjoyed pleading cases 
in the schoolhouse, the possession of whose keys he 
had so stoutly defended. 

The district judge was C. J. McFarland — a man 
who evidently had a profound respect for the pre- 
rogatives of his office. There is a story current 
among the old-timers who knew him that one hot 
summer day he held court outside of the schoolhouse 
under the shade trees. In the midst of the session, a 
severe thunder storm came up suddenly, and the 
court attaches were about to run to shelter when 
Judge McFarland issued the following mandate: 
**God Almighty reigns above, and Judge McFarland 
reigns below. The business of the court will pro- 

Far back in the early fifties Homer shone as a 
bright star on the western horizon. It was the best 
known town in northern low^a, probably because the 
land office was located there. Toward this embryo 
city, the people of the eastern States wended their 
way, by whatever method of locomotion was avail- 
able, : ; ; 

A story is told of J. W. Silvers and a company of 
men who were en route from central Illinois to Kan- 
sas. The party had traveled as far as Mitchellville. 
There they stopped to dine and during the course of 
the meal they were told of the wonderful country to 


the northwest up near Homer. The next morning 
Mr. Silvers and his party changed their course and 
in a short time reached the Boone River country. 

Coming out on the prairie west of the timber we 
saw a sight never to be forgotten — the land covered 
with a luxuriant growth of grass, known as *blue 
stem It grew tall as a man could reach. I said to 
the boys ^This is good enough for me'. . . . We 
had our pick of the land, as it all belonged to Uncle 
Sam, and he only wanted $1.25 an acre for if 

A pioneer woman of Sac County journeyed with 
her parents from Pennsylvania, expecting to locate 
at Homer. An elder brother who had preceded the 
family had started a store there, and glowing ac- 
counts of the prospects of the town made them all 
anxious to reach the place. Having come as far as 
Rock Island by rail they were compelled to travel 
the rest of the way with ox teams. Bad roads and 
storms impeded their progress. To add to this dis- 
couragement they lost their way between Boone and 
Homer. While they were wondering what they 
should do, along came a man who advised them to go 
with him to Sac County. Accordingly they turned 
away from their original destination and, setting out 
with their new friend who knew the country, they 
settled in Sac County. Thus, while Homer was a 
place of sufficient prominence to attract the eastern 
settler, immigrants not infrequently stopped by the 
wayside or were guided elsewhere by circumstance. 

The stage ran weekly between Des Moines and 



Homer, by way of Boone. With the prairies often 
soaked by rain and with only trails to follow, staging 
was difficult and slow. Many a traveler preferred 
the safe method of walking to doubtful progress by 
stage. The mail, however, was an important item of 
the stage driver's load, and though passengers 
might be obliged to get out and walk. Uncle Sam's 
mail had to be carried safely across slough and 
stream. As late as the sixties the stage was the only 
recognized means of regular travel between Homer 
and Des Moines. 

I have heard my mother relate that during the 
Civil War one of her cousins, whose husband was an 
officer in the Union army, came to visit at her home 
on White Fox Creek, some five miles north of Web- 
ster City. When the guest was ready to return, 
mother said that she and her younger brother took 
her to Homer in the farm wagon. They started 
early in the morning, drove over fifteen miles, and 
arrived long before the time for the stage to depart. 
Having seen the lady safely started on her journey, 
they got the mail, and drove home before dark. 
Only one generation ago a drive of thirty miles with 
a farm team and lumber wagon was counted a rare 
privilege ! 

Homerites were quite content with their populous 
and flourishing town in 1855. Homesteaders were 
coming from the East in ever increasing numbers. 
Fort Dodge, a frontier fort and trading post about 
twenty miles up the Des Moines Eiver, had been 


practically abandoned in 1853. Webster City, then 
indicated on the map as Newcastle'', was only a 
tiny settlement about ten miles across country on 
the Boone River. With Fort Dodge ex officio dead 
and the few scattered log cabins of Newcastle negli- 
gible, the future of Homer seemed assured. 

About this time, however. Fort Dodge revived, 
boosters came, and before the inhabitants of Homer 
were aware of danger the land office had been re- 
moved to Fort Dodge. Many of the progressive 
citizens of Homer followed. What a furor it 
caused! From that time Fort Dodge and Homer 
became deadly rivals. 

But even with Fort Dodge booming, well-adver- 
tised Homer still attracted settlers. Some, it is said, 
looked over Des Moines, traveled on, and invested in 
Homer town lots. About this time the firm of Snell 
and Butterworth started a wholesale store in Homer, 
speculated in land, built a mill, sold lots, and such 
was their wealth, coupled with shrewd business ca- 
pacity, that they came near owning and conducting 
the town. 

Just when Homer was at the height of its glory, 
w^hen grand preparations were afoot for a brick- 
yard, a wholesale grocery establishment, and other 
municipal projects, there came another note of 
warning from Fort Dodge. It was no less a proposi- 
tion than to remove the county seat from Homer to 
Fort Dodge. The people of Homer were amazed at 
the preposterous notion. Had there been a political 



Napoleon in Webster County to swoop down upon 
the Fort Dodge forces and keep them separated 
from those of Newcastle, the whole history of that 
section of the State might have been changed. As it 
was, Fort Dodge and Newcastle united on the issue 
and the seat of government was transferred to Fort 
Dodge. It might be added that in all probability the 
two towns have never been harmonious since. 

Elderly pioneers, who as small boys helped stuff 
the ballot boxes in the election on the removal of the 
county seat, assert that there is some truth in the 
legend concerning a famous wrestling match which 
formed a sequel to the county seat contest. One 
version has it that Attorney John D. Maxwell of 
Homer accused the Fort Dodge faction of corrupt 
practices in the election. Thereupon John F. Dun- 
combe, prime booster for Fort Dodge and future 
father-in-law of William S. Kenyon, returned the 
charge and accepted a challenge to wrestle it out. 
Maxwell was tall, sinewy, and powerful while Dun- 
combe was skilled in the technique of wrestling. No 
one remembers the details of the contest but there 
seems to be no doubt that Duncombe came out on 
top. He lived to see Fort Dodge become one of the 
important cities of the State. As for Maxwell, it is 
related that he recognized the significance of his 
defeat, **spit on his fire, called his dog,'' and moved 
to Newcastle where he became a prominent figure. 

Meanwhile the village of Newcastle grew, and 
adopted the more ambitious name of Webster City. 


Within a year from the time that Fort Dodge be- 
came the county seat of Webster County the State 
legislature created Hamilton County and, quite over- 
looking the pride and claims of Homer — a former 
county seat — designated Webster City as the seat 
of justice. Poor broken remnant of a village of 
classical name. Well might it cry, tempera, 

Finally, climax of catastrophies, the railroad went 
through Webster City and Fort Dodge. Stranded, 
ten miles from the railroad, its business gone and its 
citizens leaving, Homer simply shriveled up. Year 
by year it has decayed and disintegrated until now 
— a few scattered houses, a group of old tumble 
down buildings, a wooden schoolhouse — these are 
all that remain. Homer, its early visions of great- 
ness gone (there is not even a Standard Oil station 
in town), is just a bit of wreckage on the historical 

Bessie L. Lyon 

Pilot Grove 

During the lUinoian glaciation the present chan- 
nel of the Mississippi Eiver was obstructed by ice. 
Its waters were diverted from their natural course 
and swept southward along the western boundary of 
Henry County through the present valleys of the 
Skunk Eiver and Big Cedar Creek, thence southeast 
up the channel of Little Cedar Creek, and across the 
prairies of southern Henry and northern Lee coun- 
ties to the valley of Sugar Creek, whence the Mis- 
sissippi returned to its former course below the 
present site of Fort Madison. 

Where this stream passed over the prairies be- 
tween Little Cedar and Sugar creeks, it excavated a 
wide channel now known as the Grand Valley. A 
branch of this valley heads in the eastern part of 
Marion Township in Lee County and extends west- 
ward to the middle of the township. There it turns 
south and connects with the Grand Valley. On the 
promontory partially encompassed by this crescent 
valley is the site of the once prosperous village of 
Pilot Grove. 

The name Pilot Grove is significant. On the crest 
of the promontory, far removed from any forest 
growth, was a beautiful grove of elm trees. In the 
midst of this grove stood a giant elm, a veritable 




monarcli, towering above the stately trees that sur- 
rounded it. This grove could be seen for many miles 
across the prairies and served as a guide to the pio- 
neer who journeyed over the plains to seek a home 
nearer to the setting sun. Hence the name of Pilot 
Grove. Many early settlers were guided to their 
destination by this friendly and unerring pilot. 

Perhaps the first white man to discover this noted 
landmark was Alexander Cruikshank, a worthy pio- 
neer of 1834. The discovery of the grove can best 
be told in the language of his son, J. P. Cruikshank 
of Fort Madison : 

*'My father on March the fourth 1834 procured a 
canoe at the town of Commerce, now Nauvoo, Illi- 
nois, and took aboard a few personal effects and pro- 
visions. Being a sailor of fifteen years experience, 
he readily rigged up a mast and using a blanket for 
a sail, he easily sailed up the river eight miles, land- 
ing at the site of Old Fort Madison, marked by two 
of the old stone chimneys, the barracks having been 
destroyed by fire over twenty years before. There 
were two or three cabins at the landing, occupied by 
settlers, some of whom had made settlement before 
the country was opened for that purpose, and had 
been removed a year previously by government 
dragoons. Eemaining over night at the fort, my 
father the next morning boldly started for the inte- 
rior wilderness, afoot and alone, selecting a site for 
his future home in a point of timber jutting into the 
windswept prairies on the headwaters of Sutton 



Creek, fifteen miles northwest of the old fort and 
about three miles south of the present village of 
Lowell on Skunk Eiver. 

'*My father being unsatisfied with his location, 
began after he had planted his small crop to recon- 
noiter for one where the soil was more fertile and 
the water facilities better. He had learned from an 
Indian who had stopped over night at his cabin of a 
fine spring of water about seven miles southwest. 
Taking my father to a high point on the prairies 
nearby he pointed in the direction of the spring and 
to a grove that stood boldly out on the prairie about 
five miles due west. Four miles to the south the 
Indian called his attention to a high point of timber 
(the site of the present town of West Point). By 
means of broken English, signs, grunts and gestures 
in which an Indian is past master in making himself 
understood, he made it clear to my father that in 
order to find the spring he must follow the course 
pointed out, keeping the elm grove to the right and 
the point of timber to the left, about equally distant 
from the course line; after crossing Big Sugar 
Creek, he would see another grove or point of timber 
ahead, where he would find the flowing spring. 

**Not long after this occurrence father started in 
quest of what he feared might turn out to be another 
fabled fountain of youth with which the Indians 
lured the early Spanish adventurers. . . . The 
land on which the elm grove stood is about the high- 
est point in Lee county, and could be seen for miles 



around. Keeping the grove to the right and crossing 
Sugar Creek at a point now known as Pilot Grove 
station, my father found the spring in the edge of 
the point of timber just as the Indian had described. 
Here father made his second claim, on which he built 
another cabin on the exact site now enclosed and 
known as the Clay Grove or Howard cemetery, 
where he, my mother and other members of the fam- 
ily lie buried. ' ' 

From that time on the high elm grove became 
generally known as Pilot Grove. The early settlers ' 
trail from Fort Madison to the Aaron Street settle- 
ment at Salem and the trail from Burlington to a 
settlement on the Des Moines Eiver crossed at or 
near Pilot Grove. Long before the advent of the 
white men the aborigines used this grove as a guide. 

Iowa settlers were not slow in discovering the 
beauties of such locations and their natural advan- 
tages for the founding of villages. Jonathan Jones, 
an enterprising and thrifty pioneer, claimed the land 
on the promontory in 1837 and acquired title to the 
same in 1840. At this early date, when all around 
was a trackless plain, Mr. Jones was imbued with 
the idea of founding a town. He planted a grove of 
black locust trees in the form of a square, the trees 
being arranged in regular order, and he enclosed this 
grove with a fence of elaborate design. Near the 
grove he set apart a plot of land for a cemetery and 
there Mrs. Jones was the first to be buried. In 1851 
the government established a postoffice, giving it the 



name of Pilot Grove and Jonathan Jones became 
the first postmaster. Attracted by the beanty of the 
location and the richness of the surrounding prairie 
many settlers established their homes nearby. On 
March 20, 1858, the town was regularly laid out and 
platted by George Berry, deputy county surveyor. 
This plat is on section 10, township 69, range 6. The 
platting was approved by J. A. Goodrich, acting 
county judge, and was filed in the office of the county 
recorder on April 16, 1858. 

The town grew rapidly : George H. Moon and son 
opened a store for general merchandise, E. B. Ring- 
land soon followed with a dry goods store, Townsend 
Hubb established a shop for the manufacture of 
wagons, buggies, and farm implements, and Enos 
Neal set up as a blacksmith. Schools and churches 
wese established and Pilot Grove became the com- 
munity center for the surrounding country. The 
park with its ample grove of shade trees furnished a 
delightful place for all outdoor meetings. Here the 
Fourth of July was celebrated in real pioneer fash- 
ion. Speakers of note fired hot oratorical shot into 
British tyranny and lauded the virtues of the Amer- 
ican patriots. 

Pilot Grove was the focus of the intellectual activ- 
ities of the surrounding communities. Literary soci- 
eties were organized where the younger generations 
practiced the art of elocution, and local orators dis- 
cussed many problems of government and philosophy 
in the forum of debate. 



In ante-bellum days, Professor Belding, an elocu- 
tionist and reader of considerable ability, conducted 
schools of elocution at Salem, Chestnut Hill, Lowell, 
Pilot Grove, Dover, and other points. At the close 
of these schools a grand contest for championship 
was to be held. No more fitting place could be found 
for such a gathering than the public park of Pilot 
Grove. Great interest was manifested in these exer- 
cises. The day set for this occasion proved to be 
ideal and people from the surrounding country came 
to the park in large numbers. The audience was esti- 
mated to have included from six hundred to a thou- 
sand people. Judge J ohn Van Valkenburg of Fort 
Madison, Joel C. Garretson of Henry County, and 
Joseph I). Hoag of Chestnut Hill were chosen as 
judges of the contest. The audience was highly 
entertained and the honors were fairly distributed. 
Miss Lizzie Mitchell of Salem received first prize. 
Her selection was Hiawatha ^^Eegulus'*, ren- 
dered by Caleb Weir of Pilot Grove, was given sec- 
ond place. Lydia Ellen Townsend, also of Pilot 
Grove, received third place. Miss Lizzie Wiggins of 
Salem was given the premium for making the best 
appearance on the platform. She spoke Poe's 
^^Eaven'\ John E. Mitchell and Miss Sue Wiggins 
received honorable mention. 

The population of Pilot Grove never exceeded 
three hundred people, but its importance as a com- 
munity center was out of proportion to its popula- 
tion. Here the farmers for miles around received 


their mail, went to church, talked politics, did their 
trading, and found a market for the stock and 
produce of the farm. 

Four church organizations were maintained in the 
town: Baptist, Presbyterian, Friends, and Univer- 
salist. Only two church buildings were erected, 
however — Baptist and Quaker. The Presbyterians 
held their services in the Baptist church while the 
Universalists occupied the public hall. The town 
was well supplied with ministers. Samuel Pickard 
and Zehn Leweling taught that immersion was es- 
sential to salvation. Reverend McNight preached 
the time-honored doctrine of election, while at the 
head of the Quaker meeting sat Ephraim B. Ratliff 
who on occasion when the spirit moved him to utter- 
ance proclaimed the glad tidings of peace on earth 
and good will to men. Joshua Hicks and Joel C. 
Garretson believed that as Christ came to seek and 
to save that which was lost He would through God's 
infinite love finally restore the whole family of man- 
kind to holiness and happiness. Thus the various 
phases of religious thought had their adherents and 
devoted champions. 

Pilot Grove also presented a field for political ac- 
tivity. In the ever memorable campaign of 1860 the 
picturesque Wide-awakes'' from various towns 
with their oil cloth caps and capes and their greasy 
lamps marched and countermarched. Here also the 
followers of the Little Giant", their hickory clubs 
bedecked with ribbons of the national colors, gave 



their spectacular parades, while venders of refresh- 
ments openly sold Douglas whiskey'' and cider to 
the thirsty throng. No political campaign was com- 
plete without a grand rally at Pilot Grove . 

During the Civil War the political feeling was very 
intense. An anecdote will illustrate the spirit of the 
times. One evening in the fall of 1862 several hun- 
dred men had gathered at the schoolhouse to listen 
to orators from Keokuk uphold the Union cause and 
hear the glee club from Fort Madison sing the war 
songs of the hour. After the meeting was over and 
the men had assembled in the yard one enthusiastic 
citizen drew a pistol from his pocket and fired at 
random in the air. This seemed to be a signal for in 
a moment the place resounded with pistol shots from 
the whole assembly. It seemed as if every man was 
armed and ready for immediate action should occa- 
sion arise. 

About 1867 a high school was established and 
Professor Morrison instructed the youth in the high- 
er branches of learning. Morrison was followed by 
Eli Beard of sainted memory. Beard was an educa- 
tor of wide experience and was much beloved by his 
pupils. A monument erected to his memory at Milo, 
Iowa, by his former pupils stands a witness to the 
love and esteem in which he was held. In 1871 the 
schoolhouse was destroyed by a tornado. The enter- 
prising citizens soon replaced the structure with a 
more commodious building and the high school was 
again opened with C. M. Frazier and Belle Coleman 



Frazier, Ms wife, as instructors. The school pros- 
pered for a time but the citizenship of the surround- 
ing country changed and the school was finally 
closed. Frazier entered the law and afterwards be- 
came Attorney General of Arizona. 

The town of Pilot Grove was also doomed. Two 
causes contributed directly to its decline. About 
two and one-half miles southeast a settlement of 
German Catholics was established about the village 
of St. Paul. These Germans were an industrious 
and frugal people. They rapidly extended their 
holdings and soon absorbed the surrounding land. 
The interests of these people were not at Pilot Grove 
but were centered in the village and church of St. 
Paul. The children were sent to the parochial school 
and public education was abandoned. 

Pilot Grove had flourished without a railroad. In 
1880 a branch of the Burlington road was construct- 
ed from Keokuk to Mt. Pleasant, passing four miles 
to the westward. A few years later another branch 
of the Burlington extending from Fort Madison to 
Ottumwa was located two miles south of the village 
— the final cause that ended the career of Pilot 
Grove. The trade of the country was naturally di- 
verted to the shipping points on these roads, and 
Pilot Grove was left without adequate financial sup- 
port. To add insult to injury a station on the Ot- 
tumwa line now bears the name of Pilot Grove. 

To-day the original village is no more : the build- 
ings have long since been wrecked, and the streets 



and alleys have become a part of the adjacent farms. 
The public park — the one time pride of the village 
— is unenclosed and only a few straggling and 
ragged trees remain to tell the glories of the past. 
The historic and stately elms that played such an 
important part in the days of the pioneers have suc- 
cumbed to the ruthless hand of utility. This beauty 
spot of nature, once vibrant with life and energy, is 
as silent to-day as it was when the stranger guided 
his footsteps by the lofty pilot of the plains. 

0. A. Gakretson" 

Comment by the Editor 


Napoleon contemptuous remark that England 
was **a nation of shopkeepers'' might be legiti- 
mately paraphrased ^*a nation of villagers''. In- 
deed, the same might be said of America. Iowa in 
particular is a commonwealth of villages — and 
therein lies the glory of the State, an explanation of 
its loyal spirit. 

Most of us live in or near small towns. If it were 
not so the uncanny realism of *^The Days of Real 
Sport" would lose its universal appeal. 

The notion seems to be prevalent that village life 
implies inevitable, unmitigated narrowness. It is 
true that people who live apart are inclined to be 
provincial, but that is equally true of city dwellers. 

Small town society may be unsophisticated, but it 
is not entirely simple and shallow and drab. Human 
existence may be complex without being dramatic, 
commonplace without being dull. To be sure there 
are bumpkins in villages : the same type of person is 
a cad in the city. Of the world's greatest thinkers 
the village has furnished more than its share be- 
cause it breeds leadership. 




Ever since the time of Piers Plowman village tav- 
erns, spires, and cottages have figured in English 
literature. In the modern era Goldsmith, pleading 
the cause of the gentle, kindly folk of sweet Auburn, 
put the essence of all community life into his Desert- 
ed Village. Crabbe told of the hopeless wretched- 
ness of the people of Aldeburgh — a surly, joyless, 
unlovely race akin to the place they lived in. The 
artistry, freshness, and fidelity of Mary Mitford^s 
sketches of 0?/r Village have never been excelled, 
while Mrs. Gaskell contrasts the naive, individual- 
istic inhabitants of untroubled Cranford with the 
growing industrialism of the cities. 

The typical American village has never been de- 
scribed. Perhaps there is no single type. Much has 
been written about New England towns; the un- 
couth, ephemeral frontier posts and mining camps 
continue to live in Bret Harte's stories and Joaquin 
Miller's poems; Mark Twain, Octave Thanet, and 
Zona Gale have immortalized midwestern small 
town life. 

While American literature contains no village 
epic, the villagers, wherever the scene may be laid, 
seem to be endowed with common traits. Such 
homely virtues as honesty, contentment, industry, 
reverence, tranquility, and strength are usually re- 
vealed. But all American villages are not replicas 
of Longfellow's idyllic Grand-Pre where the dwell- 



ings were open as day and the hearts of the owners*' 
and where ''the richest was poor, and the poorest 
lived in abundance''. Villagers, being human, have 
their faults. They live by the standards they know 
— and in general those standards have met with 

A profound change seems to be reflected in the 
literature of to-day. People who live in small towns 
are treated contemptuously or with pity. Their lot 
is depicted as sordid and monotonous — and theirs 
is the fault. Has the character of the village 
changed! Have the sturdy virtues of the ''village 
smithy" been supplanted by the sophistication of 
the garage tinker! Is the modern American village 
really decadent, insufferable, inhabited by dullards? 
Or is this interpretation confined to the imagination 
of urban sophists who do not see and can not under- 

J. E. B. 


[Note — The names of contributors of articles in The Palimpsest are 
printed in small capitals. The titles of articles and of all other publications 
are printed in italics,] 

Abbot, Lyman, speech by, 335 
Abbot, position of, 304, 305 
Aberdeen (South Dakota), interest 

of, in baseball games, 367 
Adair County, railroad through, 4; 

day for, 330, 331 
Agency, establishment of, 48 
Alberic, Abbot, monastery founded 

by, 293; death of, 294; work of, 

294, 304 

Alberic, Father, death of, 267; grave 

of, 277; picture of, 280 
Alger, Russell A., mention of, 342 
Algona, hay palace at, 343 
Allen, James, liquor given to Indians 

by, 212 
Altar, description of, 283 
Ambrose, Brother, mission of, 300 
American Association, champion in, 


American Fur Company, distillery of, 
208 ; liquor carried to Indians by, 
210, 211 

American League, predecessor of, 365 
American Telephone and Telegraph 

Company, president of, 192 
Ames, defeat of, in football, 345; can- 
cellation of game with, 350 
Annuities, payment of, 108 
Anson, Adrian C, reference to, 192 ; 
position of, 193; residence of, 367, 
374; comment hy, on Sioux City 
team, 369-373 ; part of, in world's 
series, 370-373; death of, 374; pic- 
ture of, 374; baseball career of, 
374-378; character of, 374, 376, 
377; ability of, 376, 377; burial 
of, 377, 378 
Anson, Adrian C, by Jacob A. 

Swisher, 374-378 
Antoine, Dom, monastery in charge 

of, 297, 298 
"Antoine Le Claire" (locomotive), ar- 
rival of, 8, 31, 99, 100 
Archaeology, opportunity for, 96, 97 
Arizona, attorney general of, 398 
Arkansas, senator from, 193 
Arkansas Indians, guides from, 86 
Assinni-Manness (see Rock Island) 

Athletics, purposes of, 379, 380 
Audubon, John James, liquor run- 
ners aided by, 210, 211 

Baedekers of Iowa, 261-264 
Baker, M. E., absence of, 347 
Baldwin, W. W., book by, 98 
Ballingall, Peter G., coal palace spon- 
sored by, 336 
Baptist, Father John, monks led by, 

Baptists, church of, 396 
Barn, burning of, 276 
Barnaby, Brother, coming of, to Iowa, 

Barrows, Willard, books by, 5, 6, 
106; expedition of, 106-124; sur- 
vey by, 111, 112, 115-121 

Barrows, Willard, In the Neutral 
Ground, 106-124 

Barrows's History of Scott County, 
Iowa, quotation from, 5, 6 

Baseball, interest in, 193, 194; de- 
scription of games of, at Sioux 
City, 364-373; contribution of Ad- 
rian C. Anson to, 377, 378 

Bates, Colonel, tribute to, 55, 59, 60; 
detail of, 57 

Bathing, facilities for, 254 

Battle, description of, 173-191 

Beach, Ben., tribute to, 59 

Beard, Eli, school taught by, 397 

Bedford, ex-slave at, 227-230; band 
from, 330 

Beds, provision for, 254; description 
of, 272 

Beef, price of, 26 

Bees, care of, 279 

Belding, Professor, elocution schools 
of, 395 

Belknap, William W., position of, 173 
Bell, securing of, 156 ; struggle over, 
157, 158; concealment of, 158, 
161 ; cartoon concerning, 159, 160, 
161; removal of, to Salt Lake City, 
162, 163 ; song about, 163, 164 
Bellevue War, mention of, 249 
Beltrami, G. C., visit of, to Dubuque's 
mines, 207, 208 




Bennett Park (Detroit), football 

game in, 356-359 
Bernard, Brother, guest received by, 

267, 268, 269; meals served by, 

274, 275, 289; conversation with, 

277, 278 

Berry, George, Pilot Grove platted by, 

Bicycle tournament, 321 
Bienville, Sieur de, mention of, 89 
Big Cedar Creek, valley of, 390 
Big Nine, Iowa State University in, 

Big Sugar Creek, 392 
Big Wave (see Chas-chun-ka) 
Black Hawk, translation of biography 
of, 31 

Black Hawk Purchase, survey of, 

106; settlers in, 244 
Blacksmith shop, visit to, 281 
Bloomington, status of, 247; taverns 

at, 250-260; notice in paper of, 

258, 259 

Blue Grass League of Southwestern 
Iowa, delegation from, 321, 322; 
organization of, 327; palace planned 
by, 327-335; prize offered by, 333; 
counties in, 335; end of, 335; dis- 
play of, 339 

Blue Grass Palace, The, by Bruce E. 
Mahan, 327-335 

Blue Grass Palace Exposition and 
District Agricultural Fair, 327 

Board, price of, 20, 23, 258 

Boernstein, Colonel, request from, 56; 
troops commanded by, 64 

Boies, Horace, blue grass palace dedi- 
cated by, 327-330 ; coal palace ded- 
icated by, 337, 340; mention of, 

Boone, stage to, 386 

Boone River, settlers on, 385, 387 

Boonville (Missouri), First Iowa In- 
fantry at, 55, 57, 62 

Boston baseball teams, games won by, 
365, 366 

Brady, General, scandal concerning, 

Brandy, use of, in Indian trade, 203, 


Brayton, Mr., estimate of, 148 
Breckenridge, W. C. P., speech by, 

Bridge, building of, across Mississippi 
River, 6, 7, 8, 9 ; description of, 
135, 136; objections to, 136-140, 
143, 153, 154; damage to, 137; 
fiuits concerning, 137-140, 165, 
166; destruction of, 144; traffic 
over, 144, 145 ; accidents on, 145 

Briggs, C. O., mention of, 347 

Briggs, John Ely, comment by, 310- 
312, 343, 344, 379, 380, 400-402 

Briggs, John Ely, The Sioux Oity 
Corn Palaces, 313-326 

Briggs, John Ely, That 1900 Foot- 
ball Team, 345-363 

Beigham, Johnson, The Wedding of 
James Harlan, 101-105 

Brittany (France), monastery in, 
297, 298 

Broad-face (Indian), attitude of, to- 
ward whites, 40 

Brockway, James M., place of, on 
football team, 347; plays by, 348, 

Brown, John, Robert Lucas aided by, 

Bruno, Dom, monks led by, 300, 301 
Bruno Ryan, Father, office of, 267, 
304; meeting with, 269; monastery 
explained by, 270-274; hospitality 
of, 285, 289, 290, 291; mention of, 

Buck, Sergeant, flag carried by, 190 
Buell, D. C, mention of, 179 
Burgundy, Duke of, monks aided by, 

Burgwin, Captain, efforts of, to pre- 
vent liquor smuggling, 210, 211 

Burkley, Granville, house of, 382; 
post office kept by, 382 ; school- 
house built by, 382, 383; election 
of, as county attorney, 384 

Burlington, growth of, 29; outfitting 
at, 231, 248; arrival of Lucas at, 
247 ; papers at, 248 ; description 
of, 263; trail to, 393 

Burlington Railroad, Pilot Grove 
missed by, 398 

Burrier, Emmet F., place of, on foot- 
ball team, 347; play by, 358 

Butter, price of, 26 

Butterworth, Alexander, mother of, 

Byington, Le Grand, efforts of, to se- 
cure railroad, 4 

Byrne, Ambrose (see Ambrose, Broth- 

"Calico Road", failure of, 16 
Caraanche and Council Bluffs Rail 

Road Company, land granted to, 1 
Camillus, Brother, farm managed by, 


Camp Cameron, Iowa troops at, 55 
Camp Sigel, First Iowa Infantry at, 

Canada, plan of monks to go to, 297 
Captain Jim's, description of, 257- 

260; show at, 259, 260 
Car window, Iowa seen from, 198- 




Cardinal, Jean Marie, mines worked 
by, 129 ; coming of, to Prairie du 
Chien, 130 

Cardinal, Mrs. Jean Marie, reminis- 
cence by, 130 

Carondelet, Baron, land grant from, 

Carroll, David, house of, 382 
Carson, S, B. (steamboat), location 

of, 149, 150, 153 
Cartoon, description of, 5, 159-161 
Cascade, arrival at, 291 
Cass County, railroad through, 4 
Catesby, Mr., 189, 190 
Cat-Fish Creek, 126 
Catholics, treatment of, by English, 


Cattle, stampede of, 221; loss of, 223, 

Cedar County, proposed railroad to, 3 
Cedar Rapids, railroad to, 5, 14, 21; 

day for, 340 
Cedar River, settlers on, 29; mention 

of, 107, 111; trip down, 119 
Cedar Valley Times, quotation from, 


Cemetery, description of, 277, 278 

Central America, archaeological work 
in, 96, 97 

Ceres, mention of, 315; figure of, 318 

Chambers, John, opposition of, to sale 
of liquor to Indians, 211, 212 

Chambers, Robert, explorations sug- 
gested by, 111 

Charles X, deposing of, 298 

Charter of Charity, 294 

Chas-chun-ka, position of, 112, 113; 
character of, 114, 115; council 
with, 114, 115, 116; letter to, 118, 
119; reference to, 119; whiskey 
demanded by, 122, 123 

"Chesapeake" (boat), mention of, 237 

Chestnut Hill, school of elocution at, 
395; Hoag from, 395 

Chestnut Street (Muscatine), mention 
of, 257 

Chewalla road, fighting on, 172, 174, 

Chicago (Illinois), train schedule to, 
11, 12 ; rivalry of, with St. Louis, 
133; railroads to, 134; baseball 
fans from, 367 

Chicago, Burlington d; Quincy Rail- 
road Company, Corporate History 
of the, mention of, 97, 98 

Chicago, Iowa, and Nebraska Rail- 
road, 13 

Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul 
Railroad, demand for special trains 
on, 367 

Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific 
Railroad, continuation of, 3 ; ter- 

minal of, 5, 6; completion of, 7; 
consolidation of Mississippi and 
Missouri Railroad with, 15 ; con- 
nections with, 25; historical work 
of, 98; building of, 134; new 
bridge of, 141 

Chicago, University of, football score 
of, 345; defeat of, in football, 351- 
355; tie with, 359 

Chicago baseball team, dispute with, 
365; series of, with Sioux City 
team, 366-373 

Chicago Colts, defeat of, by Sioux 
City Huskers, 366-373; Anson's po- 
sition in, 375, 376 

Chicago Cubs, origin of name of, 375 

Chicago Orphans, origin of name of, 

Chicago White Stockings, Anson in, 

Chickasaw Indians, mention of, 93 

Chickens, price of, 26 

Chief of the Taensa, homage to, 86, 

87, 88, 90; visit of, to La Salle, 

87, 88; death of, 89-91 
Children, sacrifice of, by Indians, 91- 


Chippewa Indians, council with, 46, 

Chittenden, H. M., story told by, 210 
Choir brothers, stalls of, 283, 284, 

287; education of, 306; dress of, 

306, 307 

Cholera, death of monks from, 301, 

Churches, building of, 248 
Cilley, Mr., murder of, 25 
Cistercians, Reformed, history of, 293- 

299 ; branches of, 295 (see also 

Trappist monks) 
Citeaux (France), monks at, 291, 

293, 294 

Civil War, anecdote of, at Pilot Grove, 

Clairvoyant, appeal to, 160, 161 
Clark, Ezekiel, troops paid by, 63, 65 
Clark, William, letter to, 208 
Clarke, James, paper edited by, 248; 

office of, 248 
Clarke, William Penn, efforts of, to 

secure railroad, 4 
Clark's Ferry, mention of, 263 
Clay Grove cemetery, 393 
Clelland, J. M., committees appointed 

by, 314 

Clement, Father, mission of, 300 
Cleveland, Grover, visit of, to corn 

palace, 318, 319 
Clinton, interest of, in baseball games, 


Clinton County, distillery in, 49 
Coal palace, company organized to 



build, 336, 337; opening of, 337; 
description of, 337-342; picture of, 

Coffee, allowance of, 218 

Cole, Mr., execution of, 60 

Comment by the Editor, 29-32, 66-68, 
95-100, 129-131, 165-167, 195-200, 
231, 232, 261-264, 310-312, 343, 
344, 379, 380, 400-402 

Commerce (Illinois), 391 

Commerce, Committee on, bridge in- 
vestigated by, 138 

Compline, service of, 285, 286 

Confederates, capture of, 71, 72 ; ap- 
pearance of, 175, 176, 177; loss of, 
at Corinth, 186, 188-191; story by 
one of, 187-191 

Congress, land grants to railroads by, 

Conscription Act, Confederate, men- 
tion of, 72 

Conway, William B., quarrel of Lu- 
cas with, 240 

Conway, band from, 330 

Cook, Ebenezer, interest of, in rail- 
road, 3 

Cook, John P., interest of, in rail- 
road, 3 ; song by, 163, 164 

Corinth (Mississippi), mention of, 71, 
72; Iowa Brigade at, 169; attack 
on, 169-191 

Corinth, The Attack on, by Henry 
Clinton Parkhurst, 169-191 

Cork (Ireland), Trappist monks at, 

Corn, price of, 26; use of, for exhibit 

buildings, 314-326 
"Corn is King", slogan of, 315 
Corn palaces, description of, 315-326; 

baseball at time of, 368 
Corn parties, 315 

Cornell University, defeat of, in foot- 
ball, 345 

Coronado, Francisco de, explorations 
by, 95 

Council, holding of, 114, 115, 116 
Council Bluffs, railroad to, 4, 7, 13, 
14, 15, 32, 134, 135; dissipation 
of Indians near, 209; Mormons' 
trip to, 217; camp at, 231; mission 
at, 245 

County judge, election of, 383 
County seat, fight over, in Webster 

County, 382, 387, 388, 389 
Court, holding of, at Homer, 383, 


Cow, description of, 195 
Cox, Thomas, detail commanded by, 

Crabbe, George, story by, 401 

Cranford, mention of, 401 

Creston, blue grass palace at, 327-335 

Crevasses, making of, 69, 70 
Cricket, Anson's part in game of, 375 
Crocker, General, report of, 172 
Crow Wing River, Indian reservation 

on, 34 ; whiskey found at, 48, 49 
Cruikshank, Alexander, Pilot Grove 

discovered by, 391-393 
Cruikshank, J. P., discovery of Pilot 

Grove told by, 391-393 
Crystal palace, 343 
Cummins, Captain, tribute to, 59 
Cummins, A. B., mention of, 230 

Daily Press (Chicago), argument 
printed in, 142 

Dallas County, railroad through, 4 

Dances, holding of, 253 

Dandy (Indian), band of, 43, 44 

Dante, portrait of, 326 

Davenport, railroad to, 3-7, 14, 20, 
31, 32, 134, 135; bridge at, 8, 9; 
first locomotive at, 8, 99; train 
schedule to, 11, 12 ; description of, 
20, 263; growth of, 29; founding 
of, 31; return of Barrows to, 124; 
first train to, 137; status of, 247; 
outfitting at, 248 ; newspapers at, 
248; proposed onion palace at, 343 

Davenport and Iowa City Rail Road 
Company, land grant to, 1 

Davenport Democrat, announcement 
in, 14 

Davenport Gazette, reunion noted in, 

Davis, Jack, negro owned by, 227 
Day, A., schedule issued by, 11, 12 
Deaf, visit of, to corn palace, 322 
Declan, Brother, work of, 272, 273 
Democratic party, first national con- 
vention of, 238 
Denver (Colorado), interest of, in 

baseball games, 367 
Depew, Chauncey, visit of, to corn 

palace, 318 
De Profundis, 289 
Deserted Village, mention of, 401 
De Smet, Father, comment by, on Pot- 
tawattamie Indians, 208-210; mis- 
sion of, 245 
Des Moines, railroad to, 13 ; use of, 
as name, 244, 245; day for, 340; 
stage to, 385, 386 (see also Fort 
Des Moines) 
Des Moines River, settlers on, 29, 107, 
393; expedition up, 110, 119; bed 
of, 337; Fort Dodge on, 386 
De Soto, Hernando, explorations by, 

Detroit (Michigan), football game at, 

Devin, Mrs. D. T., brother of, 340 
Dey, Peter A., survey by, 7 



Dietz, Mr., play by, 361 

Dillon, Lyman, memorial introduced 

by, 2 
Distillery, 149, 208 
Divine Office, chanting of, 274, 283, 

286, 288, 289, 290, 292, 306 
Dix, John A., interest of, in railroad, 


Dodge, Augustus Caesar, coming of, 

to Iowa, 246 
Dodge, Grenville M., survey by, 7 
Donkey, capture of, 368 
Dormitory, description of, 271, 272 
Dorsey, Senator, trial of, 193 
Dort and Butterfield, advertisement 

of, for workers, 11 
Douglas, S. A., parade in honor of, 

396, 397 

Dover, school of elocution at, 395 
Dragoons, expedition of, 110 
Drake, Sir Francis, mention of, 95 
Drake University, football victories 

of, 350; defeat of, 350, 351 
Dress, description of, 253, 254 
Drinkwater, John, play by, 282 
Dubois, Antoine, daughter of, 207 
Dubuque, Julien, visit to grave of, 
125-128; facts concerning, 128- 
131; land grant to, 131; friend of, 
207; agreement of, with Indians, 

Dubuque, railroad to, 2 ; growth of, 
29; mention of, 122; town site of, 
131; proposed bridge at, 139; out- 
fitting at, 231, 248; old woman at, 
245; status of, as early town, 247; 
road to, 248 ; newspapers at, 248 ; 
description of, 263 ; monastery 
near, 265, 293; trips to, 281, 282 

Dubuque and Keokuk Rail Road Com- 
pany, land grant to, 1, 2 

Dubuque County, monastery in, 291, 

Dubuque Visitor, extract from, 125- 

Dubuque's Grave, A Visit to, 125-128 
Du Gue, comment by, on trade in 

brandy, 203 
Duluth baseball team, withdrawal of, 


Duncombe, John F., part of, in wres- 
tling match, 388 
Dutch-creek Township, banner of, 12 

Earle, Billy, play by, 371 

Eastman, Seth, reinforcements com- 
manded by, 39-42 

Eby, Morey L., place of, on football 
team, 346, 347; plays by, 351, 354, 
356, 357, 361, 362 

Editor, Comment hy the, 29-32, 66- 
68, 95-100, 129-131, 165-167, 195- 

200, 231, 232, 261-264, 310-312, 
343, 344, 379, 380, 400-402 
Edson, W. C, place of, on football 
team, 346; plays by, 350, 354, 355, 

Edwards, James G., paper edited by, 

"Effie Afton" (steamboat), destruc- 
tion of, 137, 142, 147-154; suit 
concerning, 137-138, 142-154; size 
of, 149 

Egypt, archaeological work in, 96, 97 
Eleventh Iowa Infantry, part of, in 

capture of Corinth, 172, 173, 176 
Eleventh Ohio Battery, position of, 


Elliott, "Dad", play by, 361 

Elm trees, town located near grove of, 
390, 391 

Elocution, teaching of, 395 

Ely, Asher W,, place of, on football 
team, 347 

Emigrants, hardships of, 217-226; 
death of, 224, 225, 226 

England, rivalry of, with France, 
203; Mormons from, 214; Trappist 
monks in, 297 

English language, Indians' knowledge 
of, 112, 113 

Eugene, Father, welcome from, 266, 
267, 269; duties of, 281, 282; hos- 
pitality of, 281, 282, 283, 290, 291, 

Europe, Trappist monks in, 293-299 
Evans Park (Sioux City), baseball 

games at, 366-373 
Explorers, passing of, 95, 96 

Fairgrounds (Creston), blue grass 
palace on, 327, 328 

Falls of St. Anthony, camp near, 45 

Farm, description of, at New Melleray 
Abbey, 275-281 

Farnam, Henry, interest of, in rail- 
road, 3 ; work of, on railroad, 6, 
26, 98, 99, 133-135 

Farnam, Henry W., letter from, 98; 
visit of, to bridge site, 141; pamph- 
lets loaned by, 166 

Fejervary, Nicholas, troops quartered 
in buildings of, 63 

Felton, "W. D., dinner at home of, 341 

Fifteenth Army Corps, commander of, 

Fifteenth Iowa Infantry, part of, in 
battle of Corinth, 172, 173, 176, 
177, 178 

Fifth corn palace, picture of, 324; 

description of, 326 
Fifth Ohio Battery, position of, 180, 


Fifth Regimental Band, 330 



Fifth Street (Siotix City), corn pal- 
ace on, 315 

Fifty-niners, Iowa crossed by, 231, 

Fifty-sixth Illinois Infantry, location 
of, 184 

Fillmore, church at, 291 

Firearms, use of, 249 

First corn palace, design of, 316; de- 
scription of, 316-319; picture of, 

First Iowa, Paying the, by Hiram 

Pbice, 62-65 
First Iowa Infantry, march of, 54- 

58; clothing of, 63; payment of, 


First Iowa Infantry, With the, by 

Henky O'Connor, 53-61 
Fish, abstinence from, 307 
Fitzpatrick, Dom Bruno, monks led 

by, 299 

Flagg, A. C, interest of, in railroad, 

Flax palace, 343 

Fletcher, Jonathan, Indians accom- 
panied by, 40; council called to 
order by, 47 

Florence (Nebraska), handcart expe- 
ditions outfitted at, 218, 219 

Flour, making of, 17 ; price of, 26, 
217; allowance of, 217, 218 

Fontanelle, band from, 330; exhibits 
from, 331, 332 

Food, lack of, 222, 223 ; description 
of, at tavern, 252 ; description of, 
at monastery, 273, 274, 284, 285, 
289, 290, 307 

Football, comment on, 379, 380 

Football team of 1900, members of, 
346, 347; practice of, 347, 348; 
victories of, 348-363; picture of, 
350; poisoning of, 360, 362, 363, 

Football Team, That 1900, by John 

E. BriGGS, 345-363 
Foraging, account of, 79, 80 
Fort Atkinson, escort for Indians sent 
from, 33, 34; return of soldiers to, 
49, 51, 52; mission school at, 112, 
113; Indian agent at, 116; trip to, 
117, 118 

Fort Crawford, troops from, 34, 39, 

41, 42; visit to, 51 
Fort Croghan, liquor laws enforced 

from, 210, 211 
Fort Des Moines, railroad to, 2, 4; 

payment of annuities at, 212; road 

to, 215 

Fort Dodge, abandoning of, 386,387; 
revival of, 387; county seat re- 
moved to, 387, 388; land office at, 
387, 389; railroad to, 389 

Fort Laramie, arrival of handcart ex- 
peditions at, 222; supplies from, 

Fort Madison, status of, 247; mail to, 
248; river at, 390; trail from, 393; 
glee club from, 397; railroad to, 


Fort Madison, Old, site of, 391 
Fort Phillips, location of, 182; fight- 
ing from, 183, 185 
Fort Richardson, capture of, 184 
Fort Robinet, assault on, 72, 184-187 
Fort Snelling, aid from, 39, 40, 42; 
Iowa troops at, 50; settlers near, 

Fort Union, distillery at, 208 
Foster, Captain, men under, 188; 

death of, 190 
Foster, Suel, building of, 257 
Four-Eyes (Indian), band of, 43, 44 
Fourth corn palace, description of, 


Fourth of July, celebration of, 43, 

Fox, Benjamin, service of, at Fort At- 
kinson, 34 

Frazier, Mrs. Belle Coleman, school - 
taught by, 397, 398 

Frazier, C. M., school taught by, 397 

Free Press (Detroit), comment by, on 
Iowa football team, 359 

Fremont County, exhibit from, 333, 

French, rivals of, 203 
French Revolution, effect of, 296 
Frobisher, Martin, explorations of, 95 
Front Street (Muscatine), mention of, 

Frontenac, Governor, council called 
by, 202 

Fry, William, Iowa House rented by, 

254, 255 
Furger, Major, 188 
Furniture, monastery, description of, 

282, 284, 285 
Furs, destruction of, 130 

Gale, Zona, stories by, 401 

Gallaher, Ruth Augusta, The 
Handcart Expeditions, 214-226 

GALiiAHER, Ruth Augusta, Hum- 
mer's Bell, 155-164 

Gambling, opposition of Lucas to, 
241; prevalence of, 249 

Game, supply of, 27 

Gardens, description of, 279-281 

Garland, Hamlin, attitude of, toward 
Iowa life, 195, 196 

Garretson, A. S., capitalists enter- 
tained by, 322 

Garretson, Joel C, contest judged by, 
395; preaching by, 396 



Garretson, 0. A., Pilot Grove, 390- 

Gaskell, Mrs. Elizabeth, book by, 401 
Gate City (Keokuk), railroad item in, 

"Gipsies", First Iowa nicknamed, 56 
Gloucestershire (England), Mormon 

convert from, 225 
Goldsmith, Oliver, poem by, 401 
Goodrich, J. A., platting approved by, 


Gordon, William, house built by, 255, 
257, 258 

Grand Gulf, capture of, 71, 73, 75, 
76, 77; description of, 76, 77, 78; 
view from, 78 

Grand River, Iowa troops at, 56 

Grand Valley, 390 

Grant, James, interest of, in railroad, 

Grant, U. S., Secretary of War of, 

173 ; mention of, 179 
Graves, Mr., incident concerning, 25 
Graves, preparation of, 278; number 

of, 279 

Greencastle (Indiana), wedding of 
James Harlan at, 101, 104, 105 

Griffith, John G., position of, on foot- 
ball team, 346; plays by, 348, 349, 
353, 361; injury to, 350, 351, 353, 

Grimes, James W., pamphlets collect- 
ed by, 166 
Grinnell College, defeat of, in foot- 
ball, 345, 350, 360 
Guards back play, use of, 357, 360 
Guerrillas, work of, 69, 70 
Gurney, Mr., record of, 144, 145 
"Gypsy" (boat), landing of, 250 

Halleck, H. W., fort of, 171 

Hamilton County, county seat of, 389 

Hammond's Hotel (Greencastle), wed- 
ding party at, 105 

Handcart expeditions, arrival of, at 
Salt Lake City, 215, 216, 225, 226; 
description of hardships of, 216- 
224; song for, 219, 220; aid to, 
223, 224, 225; end of, 225, 226 

Handcart Expeditions, The, by Ruth 
A. Gallaher, 214-226 

Handcarts, description of, 216, 217; 
loads of, 217, 219, 221; difficulties 
with, 220, 221, 223 

Hannibal (Missouri), First Iowa In- 
fantry at, 54 

Herbert, A. N., letter to, 98, 99; 
pamphlet loaned by, 142 ; interest 
of, in history, 165, 166 

Hard Times Landing, arrival at, 75 

Harding, Stephen, monastery founded 
by, 293; office of, 294 

Harl, Charley, death of, 172 
Harlan, James, diary of, 102 
Harlan, James, The Wedding of, by 

Johnson Brigham, 101-105 
Harlan, Jane, presence of, at wed- 
ding, 104 

Harlan, Lydia, presence of, at wed- 
ding, 104 

Harrison, Benjamin, visit of, to coal 
palace, 340, 341, 342 

Harrison, John S., president met by, 

Harsh, J. B., company organized by, 

Hart, James A., criticism by, 365; 

game offered by, 366 
Harte, Bret, stories by, 401 
Hastings, S. C, papers drawn up by, 

254, 255 

Hastings (Minnesota), soldiers at, 45 
Haun, W. G., whiskey made by, 49 
HawTc-Eye and Iowa Patriot (Burling- 
ton), editor of, 248 
Hay palace, 343 
"Hebe" (boat), monks on, 298 
Hedge, description of, 278 
Hedges, D. T„ failure of, 344 
Hempstead, Stephen, message of, on 
railroads, 2; coming of, to Iowa, 

Henry, Mr., play by, 353 
Henry, John E., interest of, in rail- 
road, 3 

Henry County, settlers in, 244; Mis- 
sissippi River in, 390 

Hepburn, William Peters, mention of, 

Herald (Bloomington), notice in, 258, 

"Hiawatha", giving of, 395 
Hicks, Joshua, preaching by, 396 
High school, establishment of, at Pi- 
lot Grove, 397 
History fans, 165, 166 
Hoag, Joseph D., contest judged by, 

395; residence of, 395 
Holland, rivalry of, with French, 203 
Holmes, John J., marriage of, 383 
Holmes plantation, 73 
Homer, description of, 381, 382,389; 
county seat at, 382; court at, 383, 
384; settlers at, 385, 386; stage 
to, 385, 386; store at, 385, 387; 
removal of county seat from, 387- 

Homer, The Passing of, by Bessie L. 

Lyon, 381-389 
Honey, search for, 107, 108, 109 
Honey Creek, camp on, 108 
Hooe, A. S., troops mustered out by, 

51, 52 

Horse racing, interest in, 334 



Hotel, keeping of, 25, 26 (see also 
Taverns ) 

Hourn, Wm, G., trip of, 24, 25; fam- 
ily of, 24, 25 

House of Representatives, bridge in- 
vestigated by, 138 

Howard cemetery, 393 

Howe, Jack, escape of, from slavery, 

Hubb, Townsend, shop of, 394 
Hull, William, service of Lucas un- 
der, 237 

Hummer, Michael, character of, 155 ; 
pastoral work of, 155, 156; diffi- 
culties of, with church, 156, 157; 
attempt of, to secure the bell, 157- 
164; settlement with, 162 
Hummer's Bell, by RUTH A. Galla- 

HER, 155-164 
Hundred Years War, effect of, 295 
Hunter, Mr., play by, 361 
Hunting, incident of, 107-124 
Hupmobile, use of, by monks, 266, 
267, 291 

Hurd et al, v. Railroad Bridge Com- 
pany, trial of, 137, 138; Lincoln's 
argument in, 142-154 

Huron (South Dakota), interest of, 
in baseball games, 367 

irurst, Tim, game umpired by, 369 

Iberville, Sieur d', visit of, to Taensa 
Indians, 84, 85, 89-93 ; liquor 
brought by, 205 

Ice palace, 343 

Illinoian ice age, effect of, 390 
Illinois, bridge company incorporated 

bv, 134, 135; lowans from, 246, 


Illinois, University of, defeat of, in 
football, 345; tie with, 359 

Illinois Central Railroad, end of, 2 ; 
importance of, 3 

Iowa, railroad in, 1-15, 32 ; descrip- 
tion of, 17, 18, 19, 24; settlers in, 
18, 19, 20; need of pictures of, 67, 
68; exploration of, 110, 111; pre- 
sentation of, in fiction, 195-200; 
animals of, 197-200; sale of liquor 
to Indians prohibited in, 211, 212; 
handcart expeditions in, 216-218; 
Lucas as Governor of, 234, 235, 
240-242; area of, 244; population 
of, 244, 245, 246; slaves in, 245; 
guides to, 261-264; Trappist monks 
in, 300-305, 310-312; day for, 340; 
beautv of, 343; palaces in, 343; 
life in, 400-402 

Iowa (town), 263 

Iowa, State University of, champion- 
ship football team of, 345-363; pois- 

oning of football team of, 360, 362, 
363, 380 

Iowa Avenue (Muscatine), mention 

of, 255, 257 
Iowa Brigade, camp of, 77; trip of, 

to Vicksburg, 81, 82 ; location of, 


Iowa City, railroad to, 4, 5, 8, 9, 14, 
15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 231; quotation 
from newspaper at, 9; train sched- 
ule to, 11, 12; Presbyterian church 
in, 155, 156; incident concerning 
church bell from, 155-164; arrival 
of Mormons at, 214, 215; handcart 
expeditions outfitted at, 214-217, 
231; departure of handcart expedi- 
tions from, 215, 216; Robert Lucas 
at, 242; status of, in early days, 
247; road to, 248; founding of, 
247; mail to, 248 
Iowa County, railroad through, 4 
"Iowa Grey Hounds", origin of, 56 
Iowa House (Bloomington), descrip- 
tion of, 250, 251, 252; food at, 
252 ; dances at, 253 ; accommoda- 
tions at, 254; rent of, 254, 255 
Iowa in the Days of Lucas, by John" 

C. Parish, 244-249 
Iowa Land Bill, effects of, 10 
Iowa-Missouri boundary dispute, part 

of Lucas in, 241, 242 
Iowa Mounted Volunteers, Winnebago 
Indians guarded by, 33, 34, 36, 37, 
43; discharge of, 49-52 
Iowa River, settlers on, 29; bell hid- 
den in, 158 
Iowa State Band, music by, 337 
Iowa Territorial Gazette (Burling- 
ton), editor of, 248 
Iowa Territory, Notes on, with a Map, 

Iowa Western Rail Road Company, 
land grant to, 1 

Indian pathway, roads on, 29, 30 

Indian trader, whiskey sold by, 121, 
122 ; trip of, to Dubuque, 122 

Indiana, money from, 27; lowans 
from, 246 

Indiana, University of, defeat of, in 
football, 359 

Indians, description of removal of, 
34, 35, 42-44; refusal of, to go, 
36-42; hostility of, to white hunt- 
ers and surveyors, 108, 109, 110, 
116-119; title of, to Iowa, 111; 
language of, 112, 113; sale of whis- 
kev to, 121-124; drunken riot of, 
123, 124; trade with, 203, 204; 
visit of, to corn palace, 321 

Indians, Liquor and the, by JOHN 0. 
Parish, 201-213 



Ingersoll, Mr., service of, as lawyer, 

Intemperance, opposition of Lucas to, 

241; prevalence of, 249 
Ireland, Trappist monks in, 298, 299, 

300, 309 

Irish, John P., interest of, in history, 

luka (Mississippi), campaign at, 169, 

Ivanhoe, obliteration of, 247 

Jackson, Andrew, support of, by Lu- 
cas, 237, 238; mention of, 257 

Jackson, Claib, attempt to capture, 
55 ; secessionists commanded by, 
57; defeat of, 58 

Jackson Street (Sioux City), corn pal- 
ace on, 315 

Jarvis, John B., work of, on railroad, 
3, 6 

Jasper County, railroad through, 4 
Jefferson City (Missouri), Hiram 

Price at, 63, 64 
Jekyl Island Club, letter from, 192 
Jesuit Relations, extract from, 201 
Jesuits, comparison of Trappists with, 


John, Father, gardens in charge of, 

279, 280, 281 
Johnson, Mr., plays by, 361, 362, 363 
Johnston, Albert Sidney, force of, 172 
Jolliet, Louis, coming of, to Iowa, 29, 

32 ; mention of, 85 ; presence of, at 

liquor council, 202, 204 
Jones, George Wallace, home of, 246 
Jones, Jonathan, land claimed by, 

393 ; post office kept by, 394 
Jones, Mrs. Jonathan, burial of, 393 
Joseph, Brother, coming of, to Iowa, 


Judd, J. v., interest of, in railroad, 
10, 11 

Judd, N. B., interest of, in railroad, 
3; service of, in bridge case, 137 

Junction Rail Road Company, land 
grant to, 2 

Kanesville, proposed railroad to, 2 ; 

outfitting at, 231 
Kansas, troops from, 36 
Kansas City (Missouri), interest of, 

in baseball games, 364, 365, 367 
Kasey's, mention of, 262 
Keating, Brother Anthony, mission of, 


Kellogg, railroad to, 14 

Kennedy, Captain, brothers of, 349 

Kentucky, money from, 27; outrages 

in, 74, 75 ; lowans from, 246 
Kenvon, William S., father-in-law of, 


Keokuk, growth of, 29; First Iowa 
Infantry at, 54; removal of Michael 
Hummer to, 157, 160, 161; speak- 
ers from, 397; railroad to, 398 
Keokuk Gate City, comment in, 55 
Keosauqua, settlement at, 247 
Kieran, Brother, cows in charge of, 

King Corn, appearance of, 323 
"King Robert of Sicily", 284 
Kinney, Bob, tavern kept by, 250, 
251, 252; description of, 252; re- 
tirement of, 254, 255 
KiRBY, Chester H., The World's Se- 
ries of 1891, 364-373 
Kirkwood, Samuel J., letter to, 62-65 
Knight, Dr., wedding party at home 

of, 104, 105 
Knipe, A. A., football team coached 

by, 346, 349 
Knowlton, Wiram, service of, in re- 
moval of Indians, 34, 39, 41, 42 
Knox, Joseph, service of, in bridge 
case, 137 

Kreinbr, CARii B., The Ottumwa 
Coal Palace, 336-342 

La Ber, Jacques, opinion of, as to 

liquor sales, 204 
Laborers, dinner of, 274 
La Crosse County (Wisconsin), Isaac 

Lane Usher in, 16 
La Harpe, mention of, 85 
Lake of the Taensa, The, by John 

Carl, Parish, 84-94 
Lake Providence, Union troops at, 69 
Lake St. Joseph, march along shore 

of, 74, 75 ; looting near, 75, 80 ; 

description of, 84, 85, 89-94 
Land, granting of, to railroads, 1, 2, 

9, 10; price of, 385 
Land office, location of, 384, 387 
Landis, K. M., opinion of, on A. 0. 

Anson, 374 
Landmarks, need of pictures of, 68 
Larabee, Mrs., school of, 103 
"La Ravanche" (boat), monks on, 


Larrabee, William, visit of, to corn 

palace, 321 
La Salle, Robert, journey of, to south, 
85, 86, 88; visit of Taensa chief 
to, 88 ; presence of, at liquor coun- 
cil, 202, 204 
La Trappe, Abbey of, 295, 296 
Lawrence, Adjutant, death of, 181 
Lawson House (Bloomington), de- 
scription of, 255, 256; renting of, 
256; governor at, 256, 257; build- 
er of, 257 
Lay brothers, stalls of, 283, 284, 287; 
work of, 306; dress of, 306 



Lea, Albert M., exploration by, 110; 

book by, 261-264 
Lead mines, Julian Dubuque at, 128, 

129, 131 

Le Claire, Antoine, part of, in rail- 
road ceremony, 6; origin of, 31; 
interest of, in railroad, 31, 32, 135 

Le Claire, town of, 263 

Lee County, river in, 390; grove in, 
392, 393 

Legislative assembly, quarrel of Rob- 
ert Lucas with, 241 

Le Jeune, Father, comment by, on 
sale of liquor to Indians, 201 

Lenox, band from, 330 

Lestrange, Dom Augustine de, monks 
under, 296 

Letter, A, by Theodore N. Vail, 

Leweling, Zehn, preaching bj^ 396 
Lincoln, Abraham, argument of, in 

bridge case, 137, 142-154, 165; 

play based on life of, 282 
Lincoln, T. D., service of, in bridge 

case, 137 

Lincoln and the Bridge Case, 142-154 
Lincoln (Nebraska), interest of, in 

baseball games, 364, 367 
Linder, Mrs., cooking of, 348 
Linder's boathouse, football team at, 

347, 348 
Linn County bogus gang, 249 
Liquor, sale of, to Indians, 201-213 
Liquor and the Indians, by JOHN 

C. Parish, 201-213 
Lisa, Manuel, reply of, to charge of 

selling liquor, 208 
Little, Ernest H., place of, on football 

team, 347; play by, 360 
Little Cedar Creek, 390 
Little Hill (Indian), information 

brought by, 38, 39, 40 
Little More Cider, A, tune of, 219 
Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, 

287, 288, 289 
Little Raccoon Creek, school near, 104 
Locomotive, bringing of, to Iowa, 8, 

31, 99 

Loft, E. W., corn palace designed by, 

London (England), crystal palace at, 

Long, John, mines worked by, 129; 
fur trade of, 130 

Long Prairie River, Indian reserva 
tion on, 34; agency at, 48 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, poem 
by, 284, 315, 402 

Loras Bishop, Trappist monks in- 
vited to Iowa by, 300, 301 

Louis XIV, mention of, 85, 88; coun- 

cil called by order of, 202; explo- 
rations under, 312 
Louis XVIII, monks favored by, 297 
Louis Philippe, monks accused by, 

Louisiana, description of, 69, 70, 78, 
79, 85; vandalism in, 74, 75 

Louisiana Purchase, prohibition of 
sale of liquor to Indians in, 206 

Love, John M., bridge case decided by, 
138, 139, 140 

Lowe, Ralph P., part of, in bell epi- 
sode, 161 

Lowell, settlement on site of, 392; 
school of elocution at, 395 

Lowry, David, sermon by, 37, 38; 
mission school of, 113, 118 ; pass- 
port given by, 118, 119 

Lucas, Robert, mention of, 155 ; oppo- 
sition of, to sale of liquor to In- 
dians, 211, 212; service of, in army, 

233, 235, 237; appearance of, 233, 

234, 235, 238, 242, 243; charac- 
teristics of, 233, 234, 235, 239, 
242, 243; arrest of, 235, 236, 237; 
offices of, in Ohio, 237, 238, 239, 
240; career of, as governor of 
Iowa, 240-242; death of, 242; ar- 
rival of, in Iowa, 247; visit of, to 
Bloomington, 256, 260 

Lucas, Iowa in the Days of, by John 

C. Parish, 244-249 
Lucas, Robert, by John C. Parish, 


Lull worth (England), monastery at, 

Lyon, Bessie L., The Passing of Ho- 
mer, 381-389 

Lyon, Emily, marriage of, 383 

Lyon, Nathaniel, tribute of, to First 
Iowa, 55, 56; description of, 60; 
aid to, 64 

Lyons, railroad to, 16, 21; proposed 
bridge at, 139 

Lyons Iowa Central Rail Road Com- 
pany, land grant to, 1; activities 
of, 16; contract on, 20-28 

M. and M. Railroad, The, by Mildred 

J. Sharp, 1-15 
Macarius, Brother, coming of, to 

Iowa, 301 
McCaffrey, Father Bernard, mission 

of, 300 

McCammon, Mr., testimony of, 147 
McCulloch, Ben., secessionists com- 
manded by, 57 
McFarland, C. J., court held by, 384 
McGregor's Landing, soldiers at, 51 
Machu Picchu (Peru), finding of, 96 
McKenny, John H., detail commantl- 



ed by, 39, 40; order of, 51; troops 

thanked by, 52 
McKinley, William, mention of, 342 
McLean, John, decision rendered by, 

136, 146; case tried before, 137, 

138, 142 

McNight, Reverend, preaching by, 396 
Macomb (Illinois), mail to, 248 
Macon City (Missouri), march to, 54 
McPherson, J. B., attack by, 71; vic- 
tory of, 76 
Mahan, Beuce E., The Blue Grass 

Palace, 327-335 
Mahan, Bruce E., Moving the Win- 
nebago, 33-52 
Mahan, Bruce E., New Melleray, 

Mahan, Bruce E., The Passing of a 
Slave, 227-230 

Mahan, Bruce E., Three Early Tav- 
erns, 250-260 

Mahin, Mr., letter to, 53-61 

Mail, carrying of, 248 

Main Street (Ottumwa), procession 
on, 337 

Manning, Calvin, coal palace spon- 
sored by, 336 

Margrave, J. W., part of, in bell epi- 
sode, 157, 158, 160, 161 

Margrave, Mary, service of, as a 
clairvoyant, 160, 161 

Marquette, Father, coming of, to Iowa, 
29, 32; mention of, 85, 202; explo- 
rations by, 312 

Marriage license, issuing of, 383 

Marshall Field, game on, 351, 352, 
353, 354, 355 

Marshalltown, interest in baseball at, 
193, 194, 367; Adrian C. Anson 
from, 367, 374 

Martin, Edward, company commanded 
by, 216; aid to party of, 224 

Martyrology, reading of, 271, 289 

Maryland, lowans from, 246 

Marylebone All-English cricket team, 
defeat of, 375 

Mason, Colonel, testimony of, 146 

Mason, Stevens T., part of, in Ohio- 
Michigan boundary dispute, 239 

Mason City, interest of, in baseball 
games, 367 

Mass, saying of, 288 

Maxwell, John D., part of, in wres- 
tling match, 388 

Mazzuchelli, Samuel Charles, state- 
ment by, concerning Dubuque's 
mines, 129, 130 

Meakin, Mr., play by, 371 

Meals (see Board) 

Meat, abstinence from, 307 

Medicine man, influence of, 91, 92 

Medicines, lack of, 223 

Melleray (France), book made at, 

274; monks at, 297, 298 
Melleray, Mount, Abbey of, 298, 299, 


Melleray Abbey, monks driven from, 

Mellette, A. C, visit of, to corn pal- 
ace, 324 

Melons, price of, 26 

Membrfi, Father, mention of, 85 

Merritt, Colonel, popularity of, 60 

Methodist church, James Harlan mar- 
ried in, 105 

Mexican War, news of, 49 

Michigan, boundary dispute with, 
239; admission of, 239 

Michigan, University of, defeat of, in 
football, 355-359 

Michigan Southern Railroad, building 
of, 133, 134 

Military Road, Old, mention of, 265; 
trip on, 290, 291, 292 

Militia, Robert Lucas in, 233, 235, 
237, 239 

Milk, price of, 26 

Miller, Mr., mention of, 194 

Miller, Joaquin, poems by, 401 

Mills, Roger Q., speech by, 330 

Mills Tariff Bill, author of, 330 

Milo, monument at, 397 

Milwaukee baseball team, withdrawal 
of, 364 

Mine, representation of, 339, 340 
Mines of Spain, working of, 128-131 
Minneapolis baseball team, withdraw- 
al of, 364 
Minnesota, proposed railroad to, 5; 
removal of Winnebago Indians to, 

Minnesota, University of, victory of, 

in football, 360 
Mission school, boy from, 112, 113, 


Mississippi and Missouri Railroad, 
story of, 1-15 ; beginning of, 5, 6, 
31, 32; agreement of, with bridge 
company, 6; survey for, 7; com- 
pletion of, to Iowa City, 8, 9; land 
grants to, 9, 10; schedules on, 11,' 
12; success of, 12, 13; extension 
of, westward, 14, 15, 98 ; consoli- 
dation of, with Chicago, Rock 
Island, and Pacific Railroad, 15; 
building of, 134, 135 ; bridge to be 
removed by, 139, 140; Mormons 
brought by, 214 

Mississippi and Missouri Railroad 
Company, personnel of, 3 ; organ- 
ization of, 3 

Mississippi Bridge, The First, by 
John 0. Parish, 133-141 

Mississippi River, first locomotive 



brought across, 5, 6, 8 ; bridge over, 
6, 7, 8, 9, 99, 134-154 ; settlers at, 
20, 29; floods on, 69, 70; bathing 
in, 77, 78; view of, 78, 79; de- 
scription of, 85, 86; survey of 
islands in, 106; traffic across, 144, 
145, 247, 248, 250; current in, 
145, 146, 148-151; change of 
course of, 390 
Mississippi Valley, archaeological 
work in, 96, 97; water versus rail- 
road traffic in, 133-141 
Missouri, Iowa troops in, 63 ; out- 
rages in, 74, 75; boundary dispute 
with, 241, 242; lowans from, 246; 
day for, 340 
Missouri Territory, governor of, 208 
Missouri Fur Company, trade of, 208 
Missouri River, proposed railroad to, 
4, 5; survey toward, 121; trip of 
Mormons to, 215-218; picture of, 

Missouri Valley, crops in, 313 
Mitchell, John E., award to, 395 
Mitchell, Lizzie, contest won by, 395 
Mitchellville, settlers at, 384 
Molesme (France), monks at, 293, 

Monastery, description of, 265, 268, 
270-277, 282, 289, 303, 304; day 
at, 265-292 

Mondamin, tribute to, 315 

Money, interest on, 18, 19; kinds of, 

Monks, dress of, 266, 269, 279, 283, 
284, 287, 291, 294, 295, 296, 306; 
number of, 267, 308, 309 ; beds of, 
271, 272, 283, 289; food of, 273. 
274, 284, 289, 294, 307; burial of, 
277, 278; hours of, 277, 287, 288, 
289, 310; work of, 279, 280, 281, 
308; dispersion of, 296, 297, 298; 
classes of, 306; life of, 306-309; 
silence of, 307, 308 
Monte Cassino, St. Benedict at, 291 
Montigny, Father, mention of, 85, 89; 

missionary work of, 89, 90, 93 
Montrose, mail to, 248 
Moon, George H., store of, 394 
Moore, Dan., troops fed by, 63 
Morgan, James M., troops commanded 
by, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 42, 43, 45, 
48; discharge of, 50, 52; troops 
thanked by, 52 
Mormons, bell sold to, 162, 163, 164; 
arrival of, at Iowa City, 214; hand- 
cart expeditions of, 214-226; songs 
of, 219. 220; deaths of, 224, 225, 
226; exodus of, 231 
Morrison, Professor, school taught by, 

Morton, Ray A., place of, on football 
team, 346; plays by, 358, 360, 362 

Mt. Clemens (Michigan), Iowa team 
at, 355 

Mt. Pleasant, settlement at, 247 ; rail- 
road to, 398 

Moving the Winnebago, by Bruce E. 
Mahan, 33-52 

Mulcahy, R. E., comment by, 364, 

Mullan, Mr., mention of, 194 
Munson, Lieutenant, illness of, 187 
Muscatine, proposed railroad to, 3, 4, 
5; train schedule to, 11, 12; Isaac 
Lane Usher at, 16; description of, 
17, 18, 19; railroad to, 22; prices 
at, 26; conditions at, 26, 27; tav- 
erns at, 250-260; settlement of, 

Muscatine and Oskaloosa Division, 5, 

7, 8, 10, 11, 12 
Muscatine County, bonds of, 28 
Mtiscatine Journal, quotation from, 

10, 11; letter in, 53-61 

Napoleon, mention of, 70; monastery 
restored by, 296; quotation from, 

National League, championship fight 
in, 365, 366; Chicago Colts in, 374, 

Kauvoo legion, band of, 216 

Neal, Enos, blacksmith shop of, 394 

Nebraska, University of, defeat of, in 

football, 345, 350 
Negro, story of, in Iowa, 227-230 
Negroes, killing of, 77; use of, as sol- 
diers, 78; moral condition of, 79; 
number of, in Iowa, 245 
Neutral Ground, cession of, 33, 107; 

Indians in, 111, 112; trip in, 119 
Neutral Ground, In the, by Willakd 

Barrows, 106-124 
New Carthage (Missouri), 73 
New England, lowans from, 246; vis- 
itors from, to corn palace, 322 
New Market, band from, 330 
New Melleray, by Beuoe E. Mahan, 

New Melleray Abbey, description of, 
265, 268, 270-276, 282, 289; a day 
at, 266-292; monks at, 267-292; 
history of, 293-299, 302-305; ab- 
bot of, 304, 305; life at, 304-312; 
food at, 307 

New York baseball team, games lost 
by, 365 

Newcastle, beginnings of, 387, 388; 

change of name of, 388, 389 
Newspapers, number of, in Iowa, 248 
Newton, railroad to, 14 



Niagara Falls, representation of, 341 
Nicholas, Brother, description of, 280, 

Nicollet, Jean, explorations by, 110 
None, Office of, recitation of, 279 
North Carolina, lowans from, 246 
North Platte River, crossing of, 222, 

Northern Pacific Railroad, exhibit by, 

Northwestern University, football 
game with, 359-363 

Notes on the Wisconsin Territory; 
particularly with reference to the 
Iowa District or Black Hawk Pur- 
chase, importance of, 261-264 

Novices, admission of, 306, 307 

Oakland cemetery, Adrian C. Anson 
buried in, 377, 378 

Obedience, rule of, 271 

O'Connor, Henry, facts concerning, 
53 ; letters from, 53-61 

O'Connor, Henry, With the First 
Iowa Infantry, 53-61 

Ogilvie and St. John, contract with, 
26, 27; settlement with, 27, 28; 
debts of, 28 

Ogilvie House (Muscatine), propri- 
etors of, 16, 25, 26 

O'Gorman, Father James, coming of, 
to Iowa, 301 

Ohio, emigrants from, 18, 19, 246; 
money from, 27; Robert Lucas as 
governor of, 233, 234, 238, 239; 
Robert Lucas's experiences in, 233- 
237, 239; boundary dispute of, 239 

Ohio River, use of, by settlers, 29, 

Omaha (Nebraska), visitors from, to 
corn palace, 322 ; special train 
from, 330; interest of, in baseball 
games, 364, 367 
"Omega" (boat), liquor carried by, 

210, 211 
Onion palace, proposal for, 343 
Orne, Department of the, 295 
Osage River, crossing of, 56, 57; sol- 
diers murdered near, 60 
Oskaloosa, railroad to, 4, 5, 16, 25, 

Osmond, S. M., letter to, 163 
Ottumwa, visitors from, to blue grass 

palace, 334; coal palace at, 336- 

342; railroad to, 398 
Ottumwa Coal Palace, The, by Carl 

B. Kreiner, 336-342 
Outfitting for the West, 231, 232 
Oxen, loss of, 221 

Palmer, James, tavern of, 257-260; 
character of, 259, 260 

Pamphlets, importance of, 166, 167 

Parish, John Carl, comment by, 29- 
32, 66-68, 95-100, 120-131, 165- 
167, 195-200, 231, 232, 261-264 

Parish, John Carl, The First Mis- 
sissippi Bridge, 133-141 

Parish, John Carl, Iowa in the 
Days of Lucas, 244-249 

Parish, John Carl, The Lake of 
the Taensa, 84-94 

Parish, John Carl, Liquor and the 
Indians, 201-213 

Parish, John Carl, Robert Lucas, 

Parker, Mr., testimony of, 147, 151, 

Parkhurst, Henry Clinton, The 

Attack on Corinth, 169-191 
Parkhurst, Henry Clinton, Our 

First View of Vicksburg, 69-83 
Parkhurst (town), 263 
Parvin, Josiah, tavern of, 256, 257; 

characteristics of, 256, 257 
Parvin, Theodore S., quotation from, 


Patrick, Brother, baking done by, 279 
Patterson, A. O., condemnation pro- 
ceedings brought by, 15 
Paying the First Iowa, by HiRAM 

Price, 62-65 
Peaches, price of, 26 
Peak, "W. E., statement by, 367 
Peck, Ann Eliza, marriage of, 101- 

Penicaut, mention of, 85 
Pennsylvania, settlers from, 385 
Pennsylvania, University of, tie with, 

"Pennsylvania system", use of, 346, 

349, 351, 352 
Peoria (Illinois), mail to, 248 
Peosta, post office at, 281 
Perkins, Captain, illness of, 187 
Perpetual Emigration Fund Company, 

work of, 214, 215 
Perrysburg (Ohio), militia at, 239 
Peru, archaeological work in, 96 
Pheasant (see Rolette, Jean Joseph) 
Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), football 

game at, 352 
Philadelphia, Fort Wayne, and Platte 

Valley Air Line Railroad, 2 
Philadelphia baseball team, Anson on, 


Phillips, Henry, coal palace sponsored 
by, 336 

Pickard, Samuel, preaching by, 396 

Pierce, William, election of, as coun- 
ty judge, 383 

Pierce Street (Sioux City), corn pal- 
ace at, 322, 323, 324 

Piers, location of, 145-149 



Piers Plowman, mention of, 401 

Pig, killing of, by soldiers, 46 

Pike, Zebulon M., interview of, with 

Julien Dubuque, 131 
"Pike's Peak or Bust", 232 
Pilot Grove, location of, 390, 393; 
name of, 390, 391, 393, 394; plat- 
ting of, 393, 394; growth of, 394; 
stores in, 394; educational activ- 
ities at, 394, 395, 397; population 
of, 395, 396; churches at, 396; 
political meetings at, 396, 397; war 
spirit at, 397; disappearance of, 
398, 399; description of, 398, 399 
Pilot Grove, by O. A. Garretson, 

Pine Creek, town on, 263 
Pine River, town on, 263 
Pioneers, characteristics of, 246 
Pittsburg Landing, Iowa troops from, 

170; mention of, 179 
Placid, Father, position of, 304 
Plank roads, building of, 30 
Plantations, raiding of, 73, 74, 75, 
79, 80 

Play, purposes of, 379, 380 
Pleasant Garden (Indiana), Harlan 
at, 104 

Plumbe, John, Jr., transcontinental 

railroad suggested by, 1 
Poison, effect of, on Iowa team, 360, 

362, 363, 380 
Population of Iowa, 244, 245; origin 

of, 245, 246, 248; characteristics 

of, 246, 248, 249 
Pork, price of, 26 

Port Gibson (Mississippi), attack on, 
71, 76 

Port Hudson (Mississippi), 71 
Porter, Admiral, bombardment by, 71, 

Porter, Major, command of, 57; pop- 
ularity of, 60 

Portsmouth (Ohio), arrest of Robert 
Lucas at, 236 

Post office, description of, 382; estab- 
lishment of, 393, 394 

Potatoes, price of, 26 

Pottawattamie County, railroad 
through, 4 

Pottawattamie Indians, lands of, 111; 
sale of liquor to, 208-210 

Poweshiek (Indian), liquor given to, 

Poweshiek County, railroad through, 4 
Prairie, description of, 197-200, 385, 

386; travel on, 386 
Prairie chickens, price of, 26 
Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin), men- 
tion of, 107; payment of annuities 
at, 108; Indians at, 112, 206,207; 
settlers at, 130 

Prairie La Crosse, Indians at, 34 
Pratt, Mr., mention of, 40 
Presbyterians, incident concerning 

bell of, 155-164; service of, 396 
Price, Hiram, interest of, in railroad, 

3 ; facts concerning, 62 ; financial 

aid of, to First Iowa, 63, 64, 65 
Price, Hiram, Paying the First 

Iowa, 62-65 
Price, Sterling, army of, 178; defeat 

of, 184; force of, 188; pursuit of, 


Prices, illustrations of, 26 
Prime, Office of, recitation of, 289 
Printing press, location of, 99, 100 
Professions, number of men in, 246 
Prohibition, early leader for, 62 
Purcell, William, regiment command- 
ed by, 181 

Quail, price of, 26 

Quakers, Lucas family from, 235; 

church of, 396 
Quebec (Canada), council at, 202 
Quick, John Herbert, attitude of, to- 
ward Iowa life, 195, 196, 197 

Railroad Bridge Company, incorpora- 
tion of, 134; work of, 135; suit 
against, 136-140 

Railroad Builder, Letters of a, 16-28 

Railroads, grants of land to, 1, 2, 10; 
length of, 4; efforts to secure, 30, 
31 ; increase in, 32 ; history of, 97- 
99; rivalry of, with river transpor- 
tation, 133; rights of, 143; effect 
of, on prairies, 198; lack of, 398 

Ranc6, Abbfi de, monastic work of, 
295, 296 

Rapid Creek, bell hidden near, 158 
Rations, amount of, for Mormons, 

217, 218, 222, 223, 224 
Ratliff, Ephraim, preaching by, 396 
"Raven", giving of, 395 
Raymond, fight at, 76 
Red River of the North, trail to, 45; 

settlers on, 245 
Reeder, David, home of, 104 
Refectory, description of, 273 
"Regulus", giving of, 395 
Renick (Missouri), march to, 54 
Republican party, negro's devotion to, 

229, 230 

Rice, Dan, incident told by, 259, 260 
Rice, Henry M., service of, as Indian 

agent, 33 
Rice, allowance of, 218 
Richards, F. D., plan explained by, 

214, 215; visit of, to converts, 221, 


Richter, August P., interest of, in 
history, 165 



Right of way, grants of, 1 

Ringland, E. B., store of, 394 

Riprow, mention of, 263 

Risley County, territory of, 382 

Rivers, transportation on, 133 

Roads, establishment of, 248 

Robert, Abbot, monastery founded by, 

293; return of, 293, 294 
Rock Island, use of, by government, 


Rock Island (Illinois), railroad at, 3, 
6, 30; train schedule to, 11, 12; 
WDlard Barrows at, 115; railroad 
bridge at, 133-141; accident at, 
147-154; football game at, 360-363 

Rockford (Illinois), Adrian C. Anson 
at, 375 

Rockingham, end of, 247 

Rogers, Colonel, attack led by, 184, 
185, 188 

Rolette, Jean Joseph, sale of liquor 

by, 206, 207 
Root River, Indians at, 37 
Rosecrans, W. S., army commanded 

by, 180, 184 
Rough Riders, mention of, 228 
Rouser, Captain, company of, 188 
Rushville (Illinois), mail to, 248 
Russia, sympathy for, 228 

Sac and Fox Indians, hostility of, to 
Sioux, 107; lands of. Ill; lan- 
guage of, 112; Barrows among, 
115; Dubuque's agreement with, 
129; giving of liquor to, 212 
Sac County, settlers in, 385 
St. Benedict, rule of, 271, 291, 293, 

St. Bernard, reception of, in order, 

St. Francisville (Missouri), mail to, 

St. Joseph (Missouri), train for, 342 
St. Louis (Missouri), passenger from, 

50; rivalry of, with -Chicago,. 133;. 

effect of bridge on, 143 ; mail to, 
= 248 

St. Louis, Chateau, council at,' 202 

St." Paul (Minnesota), boats for, 42, 
43 ; arrival of soldiers at, 45, 46, 
■• 49, 50; ice,- 343^ German 
-Catholics at, 398.. . V . 

St, Susan, Abbey of, 297 

Salem, founding of, 247; settlement 
at, 393 ; school of elocution at, 395 

Salt Lake City (Utah), bell taken to, 
162, 163, 164; handcart expedi- 
tions to, 214-226 

Sanders, Add. H., regiment command- 
ed by, 173; wounding of, 181 

Satterlee, George, office of. 59 

Sauk Rapids, council at, 46, 47; sol- 
diers at, 48, 49 
Savage, Levi, advice of, 218 
Savannah (Missouri), slave from, 227 
Saw mills, description of, 281; activ- 
ities of, 17, 18 
Sawyer, Colonel, volunteers called for 
by, 187 

Schoolcraft, Henry R., visit of, to Du- 
buque's mines, 207 

Schoolhouse, building of, 382, 383, 

Sciota County (Ohio), arrest of Lu- 
cas in, 285, 236, 237 
Scotland, Mormons from, 214 
Scott County, History of, 106 
Secessionists, camp of, 57 
Second blue grass palace, 327-335 
Second corn palace, 319-321 
Second Iowa Infantry, paying of, 63 
Second Street (Muscatine), mention 

of, 255, 257, 258, 259 
Second Texas skirmishers, aid for, 

Secretary of War, injunction asked 
by, 136 

Selkirk colony, mention of, 245 
Seventeenth Army Corps, station of, 

Sext, Office of, chanting of, 274 
Sharp, Mtldeed J., The M. and M. 

Railroad, 1-15 
Sharpshooters, 182, 183, 185 
Shaw, Leslie M., mention of, 230 
Sheffield, Joseph E., interest of, in 

railroad, 3 ; business of, 98 ; work 

of, 134 

Sheffield and Farnam, firm of, 98, 99; 

railroad built by, 133, 134 
Sheffield Scientific School, patron of, 


Sherman, William T., mention of, 72 
Shiloh (Tennessee), reference to, 72; 

alarm at, 169; Confederate force 

at, 172, 180 
Sick, lack of care of, 222, 223 
Siesta, provision for, 277 
Sigel, General, victory of, 57, 58, . 
Silence, requirement of, 270, 307; 

308, 311 

Silvers,. J. W., selection, of locatioBf. 
by, 384, 385 

Simpson, Matthew, marriage per- 
formed by, 101; reception by, 103 

Simpson College, defeat of, in foot- 
ball, 349, 350 

Sioux City, outfitting at, 232; de- 
scription of, 313, 314; plans for 
celebration at, 314; corn palaces 
at, 314-327; visitors from, to blue 
grass palace, 334; business failures 



at, 343, 344; story of baseball 

games at, 364-873 
Sioux City Corn Palaces, The, by 

John E. Beiggs, 313-326 
Sioux City Corn Palace Exposition 

Company, incorporation of, 315 
Sioux City Huskers, victory of, over 

Chicago Colts, 366-373 
Sioux Indians, conspiracy of, 38-41; 

council with, 46, 47; hostility of, 

to Sacs and Foxes, 107 
Sire, Captain, boat commanded by, 

210, 211 

Sixteenth Iowa Infantry, military ex- 
periences of, 69-83, 85, 93, 94; 
rest of, 169; part of, in capture of 
Corinth, 172, 173, 176, 177, 178, 
181, 182 

Sixth Street (Sioux City), corn pal- 
ace on, 323, 324 

Sixtv-third Ohio Infantry, position of, 
185, 186 

Skunk River, valley of, 390; settle- 
ment on, 392 

Slave, The Passing of a, by Bkxjce E. 
Mahan, 227-230 

Slaves, soldiers welcomed by, 79, 80 ; 
condition of, 80, 81; presence of , in 
Iowa, 245 

Smythe, Father Clement (see Clement, 

Snell and Butterworth, store of, 387 
Snow, Mr., presence of, at wedding, 

Soldiers, murder of, 60 
Son of the Middle Border, A, quota- 
tion from, 196 
Song, words of, 163, 164, 220 
South Carolina, lowans from, 246 
South Pass, handcart expeditions at, 
222, 225 

Spalding, A. G., friendship of, for 

A. C. Anson, 375 
Spiritualism, Hummer's belief in, 156, 


Sportsmanship, benefits of, 379 
Spring, search for, 392, 393 
Springfield (Illinois), mail to, 248 
Springfield (Missouri), march to, 57, 

Stage, running of, to Homer, 885, 

Stagg, A. A., football team coached 
by, 353 

Stanislaus, Brother, bees cared for 

by, 279 
"Star Route" frauds, 193 
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 

article verified by, 142 
State Normal School, defeat of, in 

football, 348, 349, 351 
State University of Iowa, 1900 foot- 

ball team of, 345-363; Adrian C. 

Anson at, 374 
Stores, description of, 394 
Street, Aaron, settlement of, 393 
Struble, I. S., visit of, to corn palace, 


Sturgis, Colonel, command of, 56 
Sugar, allowance of, 218 
Sugar Creek, 390 
Suit, description of, 253, 254 
Sutton Creek, home on, 391, 392 
Sunday, "Billy", baseball career of, 

Sunken Park, coal palace in, 337 
Swan's Hotel (Iowa City), song com- 
posed in, 163, 164 
Swedenborgianism, Hummer convert- 
ed to, 156, 164 
Sweeley, Mr,, plays by, 356, 357, 358 
Sweetwater River, handcart expedi- 
tions at, 222 
Swisher, Jacob A., Adrian C. Anson, 

Switzerland, Trappist monks in, 296 

Tabor College, exhibits from, 333 
Taensa, The Lake of the, by John 

Carl Parish, 84-94 
Taensa Indians, home of, 84, 85, 86; 

lodge of, 86, 87; chief of, 86, 87; 

human sacrifices by, 87, 90-93 ; 

temple of, 87, 90, 91; removal of, 


Taverns, number of, 249; food at, 

252; preaching at, 253 
Taverns, Three Early, by Bruce E. 

Mahan, 250-260 
Taylor County, negro in, 228; crowd 

from, 330; day for, 330; exhibits 

from, 332, 333 
"Tempest" (boat), Lucas on, 247 
Temple of the Taensa, description of, 

87; burning of, 90, 91, 92 
Tennessee, lowans from, 246 
Thanksgiving Day, football game on, 


Thayer, William H., contract of, J6, 
22, 26 

Third corn palace, description of, 331, 

Thirteenth Iowa Infantry, part of, in 
capture of Corinth, 172, 178, 174 

Three Early Taverns, by Bruce B. 
Mahan, 250-260 

Throckmorton's Landing, mention of, 

Thurston, J. M., speech by, 321 

Tierce, singing of, 290 

Timothy, Brother, picture of, 296; 

coming of, to Iowa, 301 
Tipton, railroad construction at, 16, 




Toledo (Ohio), militia at, 239 

Tomatoes, price of, 26 

Tonty, Henri de, visit of, to Taensa 

Indians, 84-89 
Towner, H. M., mention of, 230 
Townsend, Lydia Ellen, award to, 


Trader, shots fired at, 37 

Trail makers, 30-32 

Trains, schedules of, 11, 12 

Trappist monks, home of, 265; visit 
to, 265-292; dress of, 266, 269, 
279, 283, 284, 287, 291, 294, 295, 
306; number of, 267, 308, 309; 
rules of, 270, 271; beds of, 271, 
272, 282, 289; food of, 273, 274, 
284, 289, 290, 294, 307; burial of, 
277, 278; hours of, 277, 287, 288, 
289, 310; work of, 279, 280, 281, 
308; history of, 293-299; learning 
of, 295; dispersion of, 296, 297, 
298; coming of, to Iowa, 300, 301, 
302; home of, 303-305; classes of, 
306; life of, 306-309; silence of, 
307, 308; comparison of, with Jes- 
uits, 312 

Travel, description of, 35 

Tuefts, Mr,, business of, 19 

Turkey River, removal of Winnebago 
Indians from, 34; Indian school 
on, 112, 113 

Turkeys, price of, 26 

Tuthill, William H., song by, 163, 164 

Twain, Mark, stories by, 401 

Twelve Nights in the Hunter's Camp, 
extract from, 106-124 

Umpire, decisions of, 372, 373 

Union Loan and Trust Company, fail- 
ure of, 344 

United States, sale of liquor to In- 
dians prohibited by, 206 

United States v. Railroad Bridge 
Company et al., decision in, 136 

United States Circuit Court, bridge 
case decided by, 136, 137, 138, 

United States District Court for the 

Southern Division of Iowa, bridge 

case in, 138, 139, 140 
United States Supreme Court, bridge 

case appealed to, 139, 140 
Universalists, services of, 396 
Upham, Emerson, singing led by, 55 
Upper Iowa University, defeat of, in 

football, 348 
Usher, Ellis B., letters contributed by, 


Usher, Isaac Lane, contracts of, 16, 
20-28; bookkeeping by, 23; letters 
of, 98, 99 

Usher, Isaac Lane, Letters of a 

Railroad Builder, 16-28 
Utah, handcart expeditions to, 214- 


Vail, Theodore N., A Letter, 192, 

Val Sainte, monastery of, 296, 297 
Van Buren County, settlers in, 244 
Van Dorn, Earl, failure of, 184 
Van Dorn's Texan Legion, work of, 

Van Dyke, Mr., play by, 372 
Van Valkenburg, John, contest judged 
by, 395 

Vanalta, John, tavern of, 255, 256; 

retirement of, 256 
Vandemark's Folly, quotation from, 

195, 196, 197 
Vanderbilt, Cornelius, visit of, to corn 

palace, 318 
Vertical exploration, 96, 97 
Vespers, description of, 282, 283, 284 
Vicksburg (Mississippi), description 

of attack on, 69-83, 93 ; negro sol- 
dier at, 227 
Vickshurg, Our First View of, by 

Heney Clinton Parkhurst, 69- 


Villages, life in, 400-402 
Virginia, migration to Iowa from, 246 
Vulgate edition of the Bible, use of, 
at New Melleray, 274 

Wabasha (Indian), attitude of, to- 
ward whites, 40 

Wabasha's Prairie, Indians at, 34, 
35; camp at, 38-43 

Wabessapinecon River (see Wapsi- 
pinicon River) 

Wabessawawa, service of, as interpre- 
ter, 112, 113, 115, 118, 119; re- 
moval of, 119 ; warning of, 120, 

Wagons, lowering of, 39, 40 
Wapello, quotation from newspaper 
of, 7 

Wapsipinicon River, 107, 111, 119 
War of 1812, service of Robert Lu- 
cas in, 237 
Ward, James, suit by, 138, 139, 140 
Warner, Joseph S., place of, on foot- 
ball team, 347; plays by, 348,349, 
351, 354, 356, 357, 358, 360, 361, 
362, 363 
Warrenton, trip to, 81, 82 
Washington, George, mention of, 125 
"Washington" (locomotive), train 

drawn by, 12 
Washington Press, quotation from, 3, 
10, 11 



Waterford County (Ireland), monks 
in, 298 

Waterloo, T. N. Vail in, 192-194 
"Watab River, Indian reservation on, 
33, 34 

Watters, Bert, place of, on football 
team, 347; plays by, 350, 358 

Wead, H. M., service of, in bridge 
case, 137, 144, 145 

Webster City, house near, 386; be- 
ginnings of, 387; change of name 
to, 388, 389; county seat at, 389; 
railroad to, 389 

Webster County, tovirns in, 382; cre- 
ation of, 382, 383; county seat of, 
382, 387, 388, 389; election in, 

Weddinfj of James Harlan, The, by 
Johnson Brigham, 101-105 

Weir, Caleb, award to, 395 

Welsh, presence of, among Mormons, 

West Point, 392 

Western Association, champion team 

of, 364, 365, 366 
Western League, predecessor of, 364 
Whiskey, finding of, 48, 49; sale of, 
to Indians, 121, 122, 123, 124, 
206, 207; influence of, with In- 
dians, 205-209 
White Fox Creek, home on, 386 
White Goose (see Wabessawawa) 
Whitney, W, T., letter loaned by, 192- 

"Wide-awakes", meeting of, 396 
Wiggins, Lizzie, award to, 395 
Wiggins, Sue, award to, 395 
Williams, Captain, incident about, 71 
Williams, Clyde, place of, on football 
team, 346; plays by, 350, 354, 357, 
358, 362, 363 
Williams, Fred A., football team 

coached by, 348 
Williams, Joseph, house of, 257, 258 
Willie, James G., company command- 
ed by, 216; mission of, 224 

Willow Creek, deaths at, 224 
"Wilmington" (steamer), liquor car- 
ried bv, 209 
Wilson, John M., interest of, in rail- 
road, 3 

Wilson's Creek (Missouri), First 
Iowa Infantry at, 53, 62 

Wilton Junction, railroad to, 5 

Winnebago Indians, description of re- 
moval of, 34-36; difficulties with, 
36-42; transportation of, 42, 43, 
44; council with, 47; selection of 
agency site for, 48, 107, 108; an- 
nuities to, 108; hostility of, to 
white hunters and surveyors, 108, 
109, 111, 119, 120, 121; lands of, 
111, 112; language of, 112; chief 
of, 114; agent of, 118 

Winnebago, Moving the, by Bruce E. 
Mahan, 33-52 

Wisconsin, return of Winnebagoes to, 
34; part of troops from, in battle 
of Corinth, 172 

Women, exclusion of, from monastery, 

Wood River, loss of oxen at, 221 
World's Series of 1891, The, by 

Chester H. Kirbt, 364-373 
Wrestling match, account of, 388 

Yazoo Indians, mention of, 93 
Yell County, territory of, 382 
Yellow Thunder (Indian), band of, 
43, 44 

Yewell, George, cartoon by, 4, 5, 159, 
160, 161; Robert Lucas's portrait 
painted by, 234 

Young, Brigham, bell sold to, 162; 
correspondence with, 162, 163; 
handcart expeditions approved by, 
214, 215; aid sent to handcart ex- 
peditions by, 223, 224 

Young, Joseph A., visit of, to con- 
verts, 221, 222, 223 

Zica (see Rolette, Jean Joseph) 


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